July 18, 2008

To Be A CIO and Enterprise Architecture

Public CIO Magazine, June/July 2008, has some interesting articles on what it takes to be a next generation CIO (and many of these have to do with enterprise architecture).

Here are some tips (adapted from Public CIO):

  • Develop your EA and IT Governance Capabilities—one of the first moves of Michael Locatis, the CIO of Colorado, was “hiring an enterprise architecture team leader and the development of new governance structures.” This is critical in effectively planning and change managing the consolidation of IT. In Colorado it means uniting “20 disparate IT departments into a single citywide Technology Services Division.”
  • Be a strategist—Liza Massey, CEO of The CIO collaborative, a Las Vegas-based consultancy believes that a “CIO needs to make the leap from being a technologist to being a strategist [what EA planning is all about!]…’you have to be seen as a peer working for the good of the organization, not as the chief geek.’” She says, “if you know the version number of the operating system running on your mainframe, you’re probably not a CIO.”
  • Understand that mission drives technology—Pat Schambach, retired CIO of the Secret Service, ATF, and the TSA said “it was his ability to understand his organization’s business imperatives that made him CIO material.” Pat states about the Service, “they wanted someone who knew the mission well and could bring technology to bear against that mission.” Again, this is good EA and IT governance in practice: where business drives technology and not doing technology for technology’s sake.
  • Focus on business processes—Vivek Kundra, the CTO of Washington DC believes that “The key is to focus on the business process.” He stated, “My approach is to go after the core of the problem, to look at how the employees do their jobs and then look for how we can affect change.” Again, this is EA synthesizing business and technology to satisfy mission and end-user needs and requirements.
  • “Behave like an enterprise”—Dave Wennergren, Deputy CIO for the Department of Defense and prior CIO of the Navy, said “we have to behave like an enterprise. We don’t need 50 smart card solutions or 50 collaboration tools.” He believes “the enterprise can be responsible for tools everyone uses, freeing up agency developers to work on tools specific to their needs.” In other words, we can leverage enterprise architecture and IT governance to develop enterprise solutions that are cost effective and efficient, but at the same time remain nimble in meeting niche or localized needs.
  • Be able to translate business to technology and vice versa—Alan Shark, executive director for the Public Technology Institute said, “I’m seeing a big shift from issues that were purely technology to issues have much more to do with IT governance and leadership—being a translator between the technologists who work in the trenches and the politicians or the [higher-level] people who just want to hear the facts.” Again, EA plays a critical role here in synthesizing business and technology to enable better IT decision making for the mission/business.
  • Leadership skills—In the latest survey of the National Association of State CIOs, the traits that rose to the top for CIO success: “communication skills, negotiation skills, being able to collaborate and work across the agencies, to work with their executive team.” Laura Fucci, the CIO of Clark County Nevada (home to the Las Vegas strip) echoes these sentiments for a CIO and talks in terms of team building [and networking], being a consensus builder, improving customer service (ITIL), studying metrics, and good project management.

A few other traits worth mentioning from David Wennergren, from DoD, is continuous learning and studying and driving best practices. This again ties strongly to enterprise architecture which builds the target architecture, transition plan, and IT strategic plan, bringing together the best practices from inside and outside the organization to move it steadily forward.

Clearly, the enterprise architecture is the foundation for a successful CIO and the organization he/she serves.


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