Mar 31 2015

New Federal CIO Tony Scott Wants to Make Government IT Work

He aims to take a practical approach and get federal IT to execute and collaborate better.

The perception of the federal government as a slow-moving creature that’s perpetually bogged down by bureaucracy and procedural hurdles is common. As the newly appointed federal CIO, Tony Scott believes there’s an easy way to change that perception: Get stuff done.

In a speech he gave last week, Scott said government must do more to ensure it’s doing the IT work that it should be, FedScoop reported.

“You can have all the policies in the world, and you can have all the regulations in the world,” Scott said. “But if the data is trapped in old systems that are hard to get to that aren't presented in the right way or made available in the right way, it's not very useful. So I'm very big on the practicality side of things.”

Additionally, Scott isn’t shy about blaming past challenges the federal government has faced on poor execution.

“We have many examples in the federal government and in the private sector where we've bought perfectly good technology, had a great contract, had a great idea in terms of what we were going to do — we just didn't land the plane,” he said, according to FedScoop. “And I think that's where a lot of the focus has to be.”

In addition to improving execution and processes, Scott is keen on boosting collaboration in federal government IT. Finding the opportunity for collaboration among the growing ranks of chief information officers, chief technology officers and chief digital officers is something he said he’s been discussing with federal Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.

“Megan and I have talked a lot about this sort of triumvirate [CIOs, CTOs, and CDOs] that, working together in most federal agencies, could be a very powerful mechanism,” Scott said. “It's a collaboration across a number of different elements that's going to get us where we need to go with this ... one enables and empowers the other and vice versa.”

Such collaboration is important, says Scott, who has been an IT leader with the likes of the Walt Disney Co., Microsoft and VMware, because it’s ultimately people who make information technology work.


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