Photo of Robert Vitello
Click photo for contact information

Eight Principles of Technology Management for the Government Enterprise

Align technology with government business needs - Technology has the power to drive government objectives forward if it is moving in the same direction as executive decision-makers are moving. Technology goes where it is driven, and it is within the power of the executive technology officer to assure that projects address business needs, and not merely its own agenda. It is equally important that just as business needs must drive technology, technology must drive product acquisition. Too frequently, technology ignores its actual users and lets vendors take it where marketing forces want it to go. That must change so that technology and its business partners follow the need of the governmental objectives they support.

Build agility - The public sector must do what corporate America is doing, and create a more fast-paced, nimble response to need. Government institutions are not unique in their slow-cook methods. Two generations of computer technicians have been taught methods which produce solutions too long after needs are identified. Averse to any risk-taking, computer personnel frequently labor over excruciatingly painful detail in an effort to get it right before roll out, and avoid the work of retrofitting their solutions to the organization. The industry is shifting away from this approach and the governmental information establishment must change also. The pace of computer innovation is not slowing, and because governmental innovations and directions are themselves fast paced, the public agency information establishment cannot be a lumbering giant.

Lower the rate of cost to benefits - On its present path, technology is an unsustainable resource. Agencies forego upgrades to software systems--leaving themselves at risk. Or they acquire packaged solutions which remains on the shelf for lack of full understanding of its use. All the time, maintenance costs soar, leaving few resources for innovation. While working the cost-benefit ratio might not always mean lower costs, it must mean that full value is obtained from technology investments.

Stimulate sharing of information - Information sharing among agencies and between governmental entities and their business partners, is a linchpin of good government. Information sharing, however, does not flower through good intents. Technology executives must play an active role in motivating trading partners to come to the table and work to build inter-operability with the organization’s information program.

Assure security of the organization’s information assets - The information security organization belongs within the technology organization, and should not be an outside oversight unit. While external examinations provide audit control over technology operations, the day-to-day work of security must be incorporated into the technology lifecycle to be adequately address both long range security planning and immediate responses to crisis.

Improve the quality of the governmental technology work force - Through leadership, re-training, and better recruitment. Work force maintenance and retention are poised to be some of the biggest problems which technology managers must address as the Baby Boomers reach retirement.

Improve the quality and accuracy of information in the organization ’s information holdings - The current mood of reform provides an unprecedented opportunity to shape the quality of information management through effective technology auditing. Technology managers should expect to have a voice in shaping the conduct of information audits. Audits can reach farther and drill further down to examine adherence with the variety of information protection laws and regulation already on the books. They can further measure technology behavior against best practices.

Innovate - Executive technology leadership involves not only responsiveness to the expressed needs of the organization, but creativity in finding new, un-thought-of possibilities and solutions to move the goals of the organization forward.