CIOs urged to collaborate on Obama's IT goals

The direction of governmentwide information technology initiatives under President Barack Obama's administration will likely be led by the Office of Management and Budget’s director, the General Services Administration’s administrator and a new federal chief technology officer, according to a new report published by Gartner.

Memos issued by Obama direct federal agencies to significantly reform policies regarding how government information and technology are used to expand openness, transparency and collaboration, according to “Obama Takes Quick Steps to Ensure Open and Transparent Government” by Gartner analysts David McClure and Andrea Di Maio released Feb. 6.

Those memos lack specific details about how those goals will be achieved and thus it will be up to OMB, GSA and the CTO to carry out President Obama’s orders, according to the report.

Federal chief information officers need to work together to fulfill the promises of the Obama administration’s memos, according to the report. Federal CIOs will have to contend with information streaming into content management systems, business intelligence systems and Web 2.0 tools. The CIOs must ensure online dissemination of information about agency activities, operations and decisions happens in a timely fashion, according the report.

“If the Freedom of Information Act is intended to be a core part of an agency’s mission operations and performance, agency heads should already be thinking about how FOIA can be wrapped transparently into overall agency performance reviews and not treated as a stand-alone statutory reporting activity,” the report states.

The document also recommends that federal CIOs establish partnerships with the heads of public affairs and the chief privacy officials within their agencies to develop Web portal content management strategies and directly address agency transparency issues.

“The requirement for greater transparency in government is an extension of a trend begun during the Bush administration with agency management scorecards,” the report states.

“President Obama is pushing the transparency trend further by calling on departments and agencies themselves (not just OMB) to make information about their policies, decisions and operations widely accessible to the public,” according to the report.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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