Shrinking budgets among CIOs' top concerns, survey finds


Inadequate budgets, conflicting priorities among program units and little time for strategic planning are among the top barriers to federal chief information officers increasing their effectiveness, according to a TechAmerica survey released Wednesday.

The annual survey, conducted by Grant Thornton, includes interview responses from 46 CIOs and their deputies, congressional staff and other government officials.

CIOs at the General Services Administration, Social Security Administration and the Veteran Affairs Department were among the participants.

In the face of shrinking budgets, lowering costs, integrating systems and processes and addressing security and privacy concerns ranked as CIOs’ top budget priorities. One CIO recommended having a central IT appropriations board to reduce duplications and wasteful spending throughout government. Improvements to program management ranked fourth out of seven rankings.

Interviews were conducted between January and April, prior to agencies receiving a 2011 budget. More than 50 percent expected their current budgets and 2012 budgets to decrease or remain flat, according to the survey. Most do not expect to increase their federal and contractor workforce, with the exception of inherently governmental jobs in program and project management, IT security and enterprise architecture.

Other findings include:

– Many CIOs think the exhibit 300 (business case for IT investments) and exhibit 53 processes, which reports IT investment portfolio to the Office of Management and Budget, are outdated.

– CIOs want a clear sense of what should drive the release of specific types of government data and clear up questions arising from recent security breaches such as WikiLeaks.

– CIOs have mixed feelings about their role in the IT investment process – they rarely control all of it and sometimes only a small part.

-Most CIOs think becoming a certified project management professional is a plus to a government IT career.

– About seven of 10 CIOs have active or pilot cloud projects. Their main concern is cybersecurity, so they are looking to the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) as a source of solutions.


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