Critical Read

5 steps to more effective CTOs

Shutterstock imag (by Benjamin Haas): cyber coded team. 

 

What: A Professional Services Council report on agency chief technology officers and the federal CTO.

Why: Most federal agencies now have a CTO, but the role varies widely in terms of both responsibilities and reporting structures.  There is no statutory requirement for the job, as there is for agency CIOs, and the CTO community lacks a formal structure for encouraging inter-agency collaboration. PSC researchers interviewed current and former CTOs, and developed five recommendations for maximizing their effectiveness in government:

1. All agencies should designate a CTO and give that official the authority to drive change.

2. Establish an "explicit working relationship" between CTOs and their agency CIOs.

3. Move the U.S. CTO position from the Office of Science and Technology Policy to the Office of Management and Budget, working for the federal CIO.

4. Establish a CTO Council.

5. Only consider CTO legislation "if it will help empower agency CTOs as innovation agents."

Verbatim: 

"As one CTO remarked, their job is 'not to do actual innovation, but instead to do the hard changes that will make a difference over the long haul.' This coordination and standardization work more often focuses on mission technology rather than back office IT."

Click here to read the full report.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.


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