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A 6 part guide to unlocking the secrets of a successful CIO

The new era for Federal agency CIOs started in 2010 with the release of Vivek Kundra’s 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management. That was two years ago. The directives mark a shift in focus for federal CIOs. Evan McDonnell is the author of a new Appian report.

The report is a 6 part guide to unlocking the secrets to being a successful CIO in 2012.

McDonnell told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program how the guide works.



The SIX operating principles are:

  1. Adopt “Business Ready Technology”
  2. Move from “Best of Breed” to “One Platform, One Environment”
  3. Scrap the Traditional Approach to Gathering Requirements and Writing RFPs
  4. Focus on Flexibility, Not Just “Cloud”
  5. Think “Lead the Receiver”
  6. Begin with Mobile and Social in Mind

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Profile Photo Sri Amudhanar

These are great points to think about in our focus to accomplish our objectives. There are also additional considerations for attention. Of which one is particular, innovation, is critically essential.

As we moved from pagers to cell phones to smart phones, we have witnessed the amazing and relentless pace of innovation and technology. There are myriad skills, technologies, and ideas still out there – all perfectly good, that haven’t been recognized for their worth. Recognizing their potential is an act of innovation. Innovation is never “Business Ready”. Innovation is the critical ingredient required in keeping up with the pace of change around us.

Competition fosters new ideas and innovation. One Platform, One Environment – are concepts that choke the life out of competition, ideas, discoveries and innovation. This effectively kills meaningful small business participation. Tolerance for diversity is essential. It allows losing ideas to take failures as stepping stones and turn out winners through innovation in the next round.

Many of us, who are used to making decisions on the run, brainstorming, and facing the fallouts of impractical ideas, realize that even the trumpeted Agile methodology requires an initial envisioning plan to get going. Absolute anarchy is a huge waste of time and resources. Structured processes cut confusion. They leverage experience, knowledge and re-use. They improve efficiency and increase the percentage of success in our forays.

For those who have been traditionally stuck with data centers as the “One Platform and the One Environment”, the Cloud may seem like a leap and an act of flexibility, but it is still the same old resources in a new flexible package. Appreciation of the Cloud isn’t necessarily an act of flexibility, although the appreciation of flexibility as well as of being flexible, are both good things.

Finally, mobile and social are good buzz words today, like fax and email were sometime back. We need to retain our balance and avoid going overboard on the trends of the day. The staples, like a focus on the mission, creating strong teams, maintaining good communication, rewarding innovation, and building success never go out of fashion or significance.

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Profile Photo Peter G. Tuttle

Sri – great comments, especially about innovation and small business involvement. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more soliciaitrions citing “business ready technology” requirements such as in-production integrations with (such and such) systems which only serve to breath life into stale ERP-type systems and act as an effective way to eliminate those “pesky” small businesses from any competition. Thanks for shining the spotlight on this important subject. Cheers and have a great week. Pete

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