Management

CIO Scott: Fed tech 'is a contact sport'

Tony Scott  (Photo: VMware)

Federal CIO Tony Scott says the days of "silos and walls" are over.

Federal agencies are going to have to come up with written plans to allow top CIOs to flex newly acquired institutional muscle under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act. The "Common Baseline" plans required under proposed guidance from the Office of Management and Budget give the CIO a seat at the table in the budget and policy planning process.

Federal CIO Tony Scott said that the guidance isn't about ramping up CIO authority, as much as it is rationalizing agency processes to accommodate the integral role technology yin government operations.

"There's nothing you can do, no business decision you can make that doesn't have some huge technology implication or impact," Scott said at the May 1 CFO-CIO Summit hosted by the Association of Government Accountants and the Association for Federal Information Resource Management.

Because technology is so embedded in the work of government, "you can't have traditional silos and walls," Scott said. "I tell my colleagues that this is a contact sport. You have to be involved, you have to be engaged."

In this context, FITARA is a move to bring IT into agency thinking when policy is being made. "FITARA recognizes the importance of the conversation, of people who manage technology at agencies, and people making business decisions and policy decisions, and financial decisions for that agency," Scott said. "FITARA basically helps us institutionalize that conversation," he said.

The guidance isn't meant to corral agencies into standardizing their business processes. "We realize not all agencies are the same," Scott said. "We're not thinking of this as a one-size-fits-all model," he said. Scott urged agencies to "understand the intent and direction of this ... and craft a plan in the spirit of the law that makes sense and embraces this notion. That's what we're looking for in the common baseline," he said.

OMB posted the guidance on GitHub on April 30, and the public can submit comments as pull requests.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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