Federal CTO: Gov-Tech Guru, Or Private Tech Evangelist? - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
2/3/2009
06:31 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Faster, More Effective Response With Threat Intelligence & Orchestration Playboo
Aug 31, 2017
Finding ways to increase speed, accuracy, and efficiency when responding to threats should be the ...Read More>>

Federal CTO: Gov-Tech Guru, Or Private Tech Evangelist?

President Obama has promised to appoint what's being called the first federal CTO. There are two big areas that person could focus on: driving government itself to be a better user of IT, and championing policies that help IT companies thrive and expand technology use generally in the United States. Where do you want the federal CTO spending the most time?

President Obama has promised to appoint what's being called the first federal CTO. There are two big areas that person could focus on: driving government itself to be a better user of IT, and championing policies that help IT companies thrive and expand technology use generally in the United States. Where do you want the federal CTO spending the most time?We've been reaching out to IT leaders on the question of the federal CTO's agenda, and I talked today with CompTIA CEO and president Todd Thibodeaux.

Thibodeaux makes the case that if the job is more than about 25% focused on driving government's use of IT (on the gov-tech guru side of things, in my question), it's a missed opportunity. "I would hate to see this get bogged down in that entirely," he says. Thibodeaux's take is that departmental CIOs aren't doing badly on that front, and the momentum is moving in favor of tech-enabled openness and collaboration. "Barack Obama on his own is going to do a lot of that," he says.

More important to Thibodeaux is leadership on issues that create an environment for private-sector tech to flourish. (He's good at making this case, since tech companies are CompTIA's members.) His agenda includes the CTO clearing the path for next-generation broadband, defending net neutrality, and advocating for tech-friendly policies like expanded R&D tax credits for businesses and education credits for individuals. He also sees a big international role for the federal CTO, interacting with counterparts abroad the way the G7 finance ministers do.

We're in the midst of talking to a lot of smart people on this topic, and I have an open mind, but my hunch is Thibodeaux's correct in his notion that 75% or more of this job should be focused on the broad tech evangelist role, rather than dialed into helping government use IT. The White House site doesn't offer much of a hint at priorities, with its long list of technology needs. Let us know what you think the new CTO should make the top priority.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll