As digital transformation continues to be a priority within the public sector, the role of a CIO has undergone a paradigm shift from a role that was predominantly technology-driven to one which is more strategic. CIOs are constantly evaluating cybersecurity practices, cost-effective solutions, managing IT teams, ensuring compliance and effectively ensuring that the value of technology is felt across the agency.
While the CIO is a key connector between the technology department and government leaders, more CIOs are moving away from the day-to-day technology operations and increasingly stepping into an advisory role. This transition allows them to provide guidance on how to effectively embrace digital transformation across the public sector to meet the demands of the digital era.
Cloud migration, big data analytics, mobile computing and collaboration platforms put forward new complexities that CIOs must quickly learn to deal with. The speed with which these complexities are addressed is dependent on how engaged they are with the rest of the business.
Even though the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and the Chief Information Officer have very different roles, CIOs and CTOs jobs are more aligned than ever. As Australia transitions into a more digitised country, the paths of the CTO and CIO have converged along with their teams creating a new CIO and CTO. These converged teams must work together to ensure the technology that the CTO either proposes or uses aligns with the strategic direction of the CIO.
Collaboration within a government agency can go a long way toward creating a better user experience. However, as technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation and cloud landscapes enhance productivity, the need for certain IT jobs will decrease and later resurface in another section of an agency. For some CIOs, the thought of altering their team and potentially leaving themselves short-staffed adds to the stress of their role.
This stress can be enough to make CIOs think twice about deploying new technology that would cause a shift in the IT team dynamics. At the same time, some CIOs are coming around to the idea that as technology replaces certain roles, it creates a demand in other roles. The demand for employees who can work across all forms of technology will skyrocket creating more jobs for those trained on the newest forms of innovation.
Reinforcing from the Inside
Nearly half of all Australian organisations would rather hire new talent than invest in training current staff. Organisations that constantly bring in new talent often put themselves further behind their competitors that are promoting and investing from within. Staff members who are being invested in by an agency are generally happier to stay with their current employer than seeking a new role.
CIOs can become an effective part of keeping staff motivated and engaged by investing in training that will further their career. By bringing in external trainers to train staff on-site, CIOs can build their team from the inside. External training removes internal biases and empowers employees to grow their skills.
Government agencies cannot transform themselves, thus software providers, hardware vendors and cloud providers are all essential to a CIO’s quest for digital transformation. The Australian Federal Government, like any other organisation, must follow stringent legal standards as it embarks on these digital projects underpinned by the cloud. Organisations storing sensitive data must use an ASD certified protected cloud provider for any project.
Government CIOs are put under pressure to ensure they are doing what is best for Australian citizens, while trying to engage Australian-owned and operated businesses wherever possible. CIOs have the foresight and ability to understand what certain vendors offer and the choices available to prevent a contractual nightmare as they engage potential partners for partnerships. By delivering IT strategies that bring long-term value, rather than a series of disconnected and highly tactical moments of instant IT gratifications, IT teams face less disruption and costs.
Propelling Australia Forward
Australia will be one of the world leaders in digitalisation and innovation in the very near future if CIOs continue to evolve and focus on collaboration across multiple departments, government agencies and foster partnerships. This will ensure the government has the best IT teams and is getting the best service for the smallest amount of disruption to the taxpayer. This path will lead to CIO’s propelling Australia forward in the quest for digital transformation.
Article by Tony Marceddo, General Manager, Vault