Organization

What's with all these chiefs?

John Gilroy

About a month ago, TechAmerica released a white paper discussing big data and the federal government. Of the many recommendations, one that stood out was the suggestion for each federal agency to have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to assist in looking for opportunities to leverage large, diverse, and rapidly changing data sets. A similar digital inundation in the world of web design has generated the title named Chief Experience Officer (CXO).

Just for fun, wouldn’t it be nice to sit in a staff meeting with the CEO arguing with the CDO about an initiative to assist the CXO? Heaven forbid if they make a decision without consulting the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), the Chief Mobility Officer (CMO), the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), or the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).


Related:

The agency chief management officer -- old idea with new momentum

Jordan memo clarifies role of the CAO

Is the CDO necessary?


The TechAmerica report went on to define that one of the activities of the CDO will be to collaborate with other agencies that jealously guard data sets.  Social stratification in the school yard has taught us that a third grader would certainly not associate with a lowly second grader, let alone share data when they grow up. This expresses itself in the corporate suite – should a CDO even attempt to collaborate with a subaltern who may not even be a “Chief” of anything?

Spock, pointy-eared science officer

Pointy-eared science officer

An argument can be made that titles have always been stretched. The ancients even enjoyed the game, most noticeably when Caligula attempted to make his horse a senator. Today’s social networks amplify this flexibility with titles where the 175 million people who use LinkedIn all have noble, possibly senatorial skills. After reviewing several hundred LinkedIn profiles, one would rightfully conclude that each and every one deserves a seat in the corner office.  

To whom shall we attribute title inflation? From my perspective, I’ve got to look in the mirror. Baby boomers like me sit at the feet of Garrison Keilor’s notion that all the children are above average. Children of Haight & Ashbury crowd certainly should not be forced to earn their way to the executive lunch room. At the Thanksgiving Day dinner table, this grey haired generation would much prefer to discuss the nuances of job titles of their brood rather than college debt vagaries and iPad variations. Card-carrying boomers are a perfect target for promoting title inflation. After all, in 1966 we were the ones to rally behind a pointy-eared “science officer.” In today’s world, we would ask, was he the “chief” science officer?

About the Author

John Gilroy works at Armature Corp. and is decidedly not the Chief Data Officer. However, he is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, the resident computer guy at WAMU 88.5 FM as well as being the host of Federal Tech Talk on Federal News Radio, WFED 1500 AM.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group