2016 marks the 26th annual survey of CIOs, CISOs, and other key IT executives in the federal government and the pace of change those leaders have been experiencing continues to accelerate. Agency IT leaders are being asked to do more, do it better, and do it with less money. They are continuing to strive to balance oversight of operations for mission critical functions, opportunities to bring innovative services and efficiencies into government and building more effective cyber defenses as the threats to government systems continue to increase, often without access to financial investments to meet all these demands.
In addition to a strong focus on the need for IT modernization and improved cybersecurity, the administration has not slowed down on launching new tools and initiatives designed to help agencies achieve that transition to modern digital services. In just the last six months, the administration has launched a number of initiatives, including Category Management (improving the efficiency of purchasing laptops/desktops, software, and mobile devices), a new framework and playbook for modernizing mission support functions, the first ever Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy, updated guidance on data center consolidation, and a long-awaited update to OMB Circular A-130 – a foundational document to the way agencies manage information technology, security, data, and privacy across the government. CIOs and CISOs are right in the middle.
As expected, this year’s survey respondents had wide-ranging views of these many initiatives, and working to integrate those new requirements into an already packed agenda has proved challenging. Although there are a host of new initiatives that are continuing to drive the IT agenda in agencies, CIOs and CISOs interviewed for this survey continue to cite similar challenges as in previous years. The main challenges and themes these executives struggle with include using an antiquated and bloated acquisition process, preparing adequately to protect federal networks and data amid rapidly increasing cyber threats, and hiring the talent (federal and otherwise) needed to execute their mission.
Despite increased workload and persistent challenges, CIOs and CISOs continue to find innovative ways to use technology to conduct the business of government faster and more efficiently. From increasing the use of Agile development to leveraging more advanced data analysis and management systems, from taking advantage of cloud-based solutions to utilizing different hiring and procurement strategies to integrate new ideas and energy into the workforce, CIOs and CISOs have never been more important in helping ensure the government is more responsive, nimble and cost effective.
Learn more about the top priorities and challenges facing CIOs this year which were nearly identical to last year, including cybersecurity, IT modernization, the talent challenge, improving IT acquisition, and cloud.