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5 Forces That Could Transform Government IT

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The line between tech management and business strategy is blurring, a new report says. And it could have a dramatic effect on agency chief information officers.

Instead of just overseeing technology within their organizations, CIOs are becoming increasingly strategic: advising organizations on the role of technology in their overall missions, according to Deloitte analysts.  

Their approach varies; some CIOs establish special IT teams dedicated to coming up with new ideas, Pat Gelsinger, chief executive of VMware, wrote in a note included in the report. Others collaborate with internal business experts. 

"Notably, we’ve also seen companies set up entirely new organizational frameworks in which emerging technology-based leadership roles such as the chief digital officer report to and collaborate with the CIO, who, in turn, assumes the role of strategist and integrator," he wrote. 

The evolving role of the CIO is one of several tech forces poised to change the way large organizations operate – including business and government – over the next 18 to 24 months, Deloitte analysts wrote in the new report. Findings were culled from industry and academic research, crowdsourced ideas and client feedback, among other sources. 

For one, Application Programming Interfaces – APIs – are helping state, local and the federal government explore new ways to process crime stats, budgets and other data sets, the report said. Public APIs have doubled in the past 18 months, reaching more than 10,000 published, according to Deloitte. These include the Food and Drug Administration's openFDA, intended to provide developers with access to FDA data sets.

"The upside is the ability to harness internal and external constituents’ creative energy to build new products and offerings," George Collins, a principal, and David Sisk, a director at Deloitte, wrote in the report. The downside, they added, is these channels could give developers direct access to sensitive intellectual property. 

The Internet of Things, describing the proliferation of sensor-enabled objects, appliances and devices, is another such force, Deloitte principals Andy Daecher and Tom Galizia wrote in the report.

For instance, a mobile app called Streetline uses sensors to detect when parking spots in San Francisco are occupied, and has learned to distinguish between cars and non-car objects in spots so commuters, parking officers, city officials and others can quickly find parking. 

These forces are also changing the culture of IT workers, according to the report.

Just as the role of the CIO is evolving, IT workers will soon need to integrate design into their skill set. Graphics, user experience and behavioral psychology will become more relevant as they create virtual products. Many of today's IT workers prefer a flexible work environment – the report cited a recent survey that found that 53 percent of those polled would take a 7.9 percent pay cut if they were able to work remotely.

The General Services Administration has been an early adopter in this new approach to IT, the report said. GSA CIO Sonny Hashmi has been recruiting Silicon Valley technologists to solve government tech problems, and has seeded the administration's internal IT team, 18F, with Presidential Innovation Fellows. 

(Image via  / Shutterstock.com)

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