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CIO Value


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Term Paper on the value of the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO)

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CIO Value

  1. 1. Running Head: CIO Value to the Organization Does the CIO Bring Value to the Organization? Term Paper Belinda Edwards ISAS 650: Information Technology, the CIO, and Organizational Transformation University of MarylandUniversityCollege 13 August 2011
  2. 2. CIO Value to the Organization 2 Executive Summary This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the role of Chief Information Officer(CIO). The document will evaluate past and future perspectives on this role by examining theposition and its evolving lists of responsibilities; external factors and beliefs that threaten theposition’s existence; and forecasts of the future. The chief executive officer is a role thatextends across the breath of industries; no single description will comply with various corporaterequirements. This report will review the evolution of the role of CIO and provide an outlook forthe future. Methods of analysis include Porter’s Five Forces, an examination of the Mintzbergmodel, and strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) matrix analysis. Results ofdata gathered illustrate that the chief information officer position, while highly competitive anddependent upon global trends (i.e. consumer choice, regulation, economics), is heavilyinfluenced by market trends and economic forces. This report finds the prospects for maintaining the role of chief information officerextremely high. A growth area is the perspective that this role has the ability to aid thecorporation with adjustments to market trends, customer demand, and business requirements.An area of weakness is the changing view of the CIO role as not being an executive position,thus the shift towards the chief financial officer (CFO) authorizing information technology (IT)investments. However, due to the global economic downturn, chief executive officers (CEOs)are driving the push towards IT efficiency, all while increasing the need for customerengagement and IT agility. This report concurs with the necessity of maintaining the role ofchief information officer as a separate C-suite entity; however those fulfilling the position mustremain sensitive to preserving communications with the CEO and CFO to align with corporateneed.
  3. 3. CIO Value to the Organization 3 Background In the past, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) was a “mere operations role” whoseprimary focus was to understand technology (PwC, 2011; Sperling, 2010). The definition ofCIO ranges from the “ person responsible for the information technology and computer systemsthat support enterprise goals” (SearchCIO) to “an executive officer in charge of informationprocessing in an organization” (PCMag), and “an executive responsible for development,implementation, and operation of a firmsinformation technologypolicy” (business dictionary).Today, depending upon organizational need, most infrastructure operations have been outsourced(Sperling, 2010). The impact of globalization, the economic downturn, rapid changes intechnology, and increased performance demands have driven expectations that the CIO shouldhave the breadth of corporate knowledge to effectively and quickly apply technical solution(s) toincrease efficiency at a reduced cost. Due to business complexities, CIOs are expected to act asa strategic partner capable of effectively communicating with corporate and business leadership,all while delivering technology that will promote corporate, division, and department missions,(IBM, 2011).
  4. 4. CIO Value to the Organization 4 Industry StructureChief Information Officer (CIO) Characteristics The chief information officer “is responsible for the management, implementation andusability of information and computer technologies” (Investopedia). Over the years, the role hastransformed from exclusively providing a consistent and reliable infrastructure to being agileenough to provide (1) unique solutions to business problems and (2) analytics for real-timeinformation. Studies have shown that confusion abounds over the role of the CIO. Peppard,, have defined five distinct roles the CIO performs given the situation. The table belowillustrates those roles and the challenges associated with each.Table 1 CIO Roles and Challenges CIO Roles Challenges Utility IT Director Technologically and operationally Not seen as an executive, but rather focused executive whose primary an operational support element; function is to provide IT Must secure budget and gain infrastructure, systems, data, and management attention and support telecommunications capability Evangelist Takes on the task of raising the Overcoming view to maintain the profile of information within the status quo; influencing perspectives organization, "selling" the idea to accept the ability of information that information can potentially be and technology to transform existing leveraged to generate significant processes, products, and business business value models; establishing credibility with business colleagues. Innovator Identifies and develops Managing IT innovation integration opportunities to deploy new IT- throughout the business; positioned enabled processes and at same level and status as those products/services that give the who manage financial and marketing organization a clear source of resources competitive advantage over rivals Facilitator Responsible for ensuring Encouraging and enabling intelligent information skills and capabilities users to focus on demand rather than pervade every part of the on involvement with the intricacies organization of technology supply
  5. 5. CIO Value to the Organization 5 CIO Roles Challenges Agility IT Responsible for the supply of To be at the cutting edge of Director technology and systems to support technology and able to access an daily business activities; ensure extensive ecosystem of technology infrastructure integrity, maintain suppliers. information policies and standards, assure security, privacy, and compliance, and manage risk and service quality The Mintzberg model also addresses these roles while it observed tasks performed by theCIO over a given time period. Mintzberg recognized that “factors impacted the CIO and his/herability to participate in strategic meetings as well as his/her authority to formally allocateresources and the level of peer acceptance” (Stephens, et. al., 1992). It has been documented thatCIO roles differ depending upon corporate industry and size. The CIO must be skilled to assesssituations, have the proper authority to affect change, and the aptitude to defuse situations. Competitive Industry StructureThreat of New Entrants Due to entrance barriers, the threat of new entrants is extremely low. The globaleconomic downturn has caused corporations to focus on fiscal responsibility and costcontainment. Entrants must be knowledgeable of business, industry, and technology to make apositive impact on the corporation. Economies of scale, includingthe recent economic crisis,movement towards (1) integrated enterprise services and consolidated data centers and (2)renegotiation of outsourcing contracts limit new entrants. New entrants must be experiencedplayers, such as the chief financial officer (CFO), with the ability to communicate andcollaborate with corporate executives while maximizing business value brought to theorganization.
  6. 6. CIO Value to the Organization 6Intensity of Rivalry The intensity of rivalry is very high. Due to the global economic downturn, corporationsare more focused on fiscal responsibility and cost containment. The chief financial officer(CFO) is now looked upon as being better positioned to authorize IT investments. A 2011Gartner survey showed that 26% of IT investments were authorized by the CFO alone, up 18%from the previous year (Harris, 2011). Although the survey respondents were primarily CFOs,only 32% of respondents viewed CIOs as a strategic partner (Harris, 2011). Wailgum also statedthat movement towards the CFO was a result of past experiences where IT expenditures werefocused on “financial computing initiatives”. CIOs have also been viewed as not being close tothe business and unable to deliver the appropriate message to the CEO. This experienced entrant(the CFO) is a comparable competitor to the CIO.Bargaining Power of Buyers The bargaining power of buyers (the chief executive officer) remains high. The CEO is“mindful of economic volatility ahead” and has begun requesting “IT organizations to thinkabout how to drive and grow revenue…which is counter to the history of IT organizations”(Lopez, 2011). The CEO is looking for ways to reinvent the corporation to align withtechnology and customer behavior modifications; improve customer relationships via diversecollaborative methods, reduce inventory, and sustain technical performance (IBM, 2011, p. 55;Knowledge@Wharton, 2007). To remain competitive, the CIO must utilize his/her position of“access to customer preference data, supply chain patterns, and emerging trends to revealpreviously undiscovered andunmet needs that may lead to product innovations, massiveprocesschanges, cross-industry value chain cooperation and other synergiesacross industries”(IBM, 2011, p. 56).
  7. 7. CIO Value to the Organization 7Bargaining Power of Suppliers The bargaining power of suppliers (vendors) is extremely low. Intellectual capital andcompetitive advantage will continuously drive corporations to hold information close. Chiefinformation officers are charged to increase collaborative activities between personnel, vendors,(some) competitors and customers. The economic downturn has encouraged CIOs to leveragesupplier competition to obtain the best benefit for the dollar. Suppliers will benefit frompartnerships with corporations to adjust rapid changes in consumer demand.Threat of Substitutes The threat of substitutes is moderate. The global recession has drastically reducedavailable corporate funding for IT investments. In addition to CIO alignment with the CFO,some corporations have the CIO aligned with the chief operating officer (COO). Studies haveshown that CIO/COO and CIO/CFO alignments have less maturity and business benefit thanoccasions when the CIO/CEO alignment occurs (Luftman, 2007).Dominate Role Characteristics The table below provides the Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats (SWOT)matrix for the role of the CIO. The SWOT matrix illustrates key internal strengths andweaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats (David, 2009, p. 192). This analysis canbe used for strategic planning of product development and improved customer engagementwhich will hopefully lead to increased competitive advantage. Information for this SWOTmatrix was derived from both academic and industry periodicals found on the topic.
  8. 8. CIO Value to the Organization 8Internal Audit Strengths 1. Active participant in strategic planning (Stephens, 1992) 2. Has knowledge to link technology with business need (Stephens, 1992) 3. Responsible for establishing corporate information policy, standards, and management control over all corporate information resources (Stephens, 1992) 4. Within the Service industry, the CIO role is involved in strategy formulation, salary is higher, and reports to a higher level in the organization (Stephens, 1992) 5. Internal collaboration will aid in transforming corporations and customer interaction will drive high impact initiatives (IBM, 26 May 2011) 6. Seen as critical enablers of the organization’s vision (IBM, 26 May 2011) 7. CIOs can help meet customer expectations by better leveraging customer data and by providing greater levels of integration and transparency; a pivotal role to reinvent the customer relationship (IBM, Sept 2010) 8. CEOs increasingly rely on CIOs to turn data into usable information, information into intelligence and intelligence into better decisions (IBM, 12 May 2011) 9. The CIO has cross-disciplinary ability to think about both business and technology. (Knowledge@Wharton, 2002) 10. The CIO role differs from that of the Information System (IS) manager, because of the focus informational responsibility, the requirement to be alert to technical environmental changes, and the need to communicate with sophisticated end users as well as influential external contacts (Grover, et. al., 1993) Weaknesses 1. Not considered significant enough for the C-Suite (Stephens, 1992) 2. Does not have formal authority to influence resource allocation (Stephens, 1992) 3. Job perception is not uniform across industries and corporation size; role is drastically different dependent upon corporate focus (Stephens, 1992) 4. CIOs feel that by paying their dues and showing business competence, they deserve to report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), but their peers feel differently (Wailgum, May 2010) 5. CIOs perceived as being "weak" have been unable to communicate effectively with business personnel, especially the CIO (Wailgum, April 2010) 6. Have not been able to clarify the value that IT is contributing to the organization, nor where the IT budget is being spent, or why IT is the best return on that investment (Wailgum, April 2010) 7. Differing levels of IT confidence and interest impacts the way to effectively strategize and thereby build trust and positively impact corporate functionality. (CIO, 2010) 8. CIOs are tethered to past decisions on data center, hardware and software which weigh heavily on how flexible, scalable, innovative and cost-effective corporations can be (Heller, 2011)
  9. 9. CIO Value to the Organization 9 9. Originally responsible to lead an IT organization that had not focused on delivering exactly the value that the enterprise needed, thus negatively impacting the perception of IT value within the corporation (Sperling, 2010) 10. Only 32 percent of CFO view CIOs as strategic partners. (Harris, 2011)External Audit Opportunities 1. Information Technology has an incredible impact on business that will continue to be intertwined with future business functionality (Wailgum, April 2010) 2. Organizations that demand high-performance IT need CIOs to focus on managing essential IT activities and getting information to decision makers faster and more accurately. (IBM, 26 May 2011) 3. Focus on cross-enterprise growth will continuously tune business processes and internal collaboration to gain tighter integration (IBM, 26 May 2011) 4. IT will assist in continual operations refinement to optimize efficiency and drive substantial competitive advantage (IBM, 26 May 2011) 5. CIOs have a vital role in deploying innovative technical solutions to enable the industry push towards improving customer relationships via deploying analytics and collaborative environments to deliver insights into customer needs and preferences. (IBM, Sept 2010) 6. Sixty-one percent of CEOs agree that simplifying business processes (including IT processes) contributes to building a more flexible and manageable IT environment and an important element of operating strategy (IBM, Sept 2010) 7. Market factors will have impact on corporations over the next three to five years, forcing corporations to operate in a world that is substantially more volatile, uncertain and complex (IBM, 12 May 2011) 8. The amount of data available for analysis has led to a push towards real-time data collection and advanced analytics, which will lead to improved business management (IBM, 12 May 2011) 9. CIOs have impact on corporate revenue, brand image, and marketplace perceptions (Knowledge@Wharton, 2002) 10. Corporations are hiring CIOs who are capable of working effectively with business units to achieve business outcomes; who act and think in terms of profits, costs and customers (Sperling, 2010)
  10. 10. CIO Value to the Organization 10Threats 1. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are becoming corporations top information technology (IT) decision makers (Wailgum, May 2010) 2. Organizations responding to the 2010 Gartner and Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) survey stated that 42% of their IT department reports to the CFO (Wailgum, May 2010) 3. Consumer push towards social media introduce increasing security implications that have not previous been addressed 4. Some peers feel the CIO should report to the Chief Operating Officer (COO), as part of the alignment of roles providing shared services that support corporate initiatives (i.e. finance, accounting, and controlling) (Wailgum, April 2010) 5. CEOs want control over increasing IT expenditures, thereby placing the CFO in the interim position (Wailgum, April 2010) 6. The global financial crisis has forced CEOs to reduce IT spending, thus forcing CIOs to report to CFOs (Wailgum, April 2010) 7. The corporate environment remains volatile and complex; IT has been seen as a catalyst for thought (IBM, Sept 2010) 8. In the past year, 26 percent of IT investments have been authorized by CFOs alone, up 18% from the previous year. (Harris, 2011) 9. Perspectives are that CIOs have increasingly become less focused on business intelligence, and more interested in projects that advance cloud computing and virtualization (Harris, 2011) 10. Corporations now view CFOs as having IT priorities geared toward improving business processes, efficiency and using IT to gain competitive insight. (Harris, 2011) David states there are multiple external and internal forces that affect every industry (andposition). The external factors that affect the CIO include economic, cultural, political, legal,government regulation, technology, and competition. Internal forces affectthe CIO focus onbusiness performance, thus this role was evaluated on its impact to competitive advantage andstrategic alignment that result in improved product offerings and market share. The SWOTanalysis illustrates that the continued economic crisis has required the CIO to evaluate andaddress process redundancy through enterprise integration; to continue to advance theirunderstanding of business priorities; and utilize their position to deploy innovative solutions thatconcentrate on customer demand and market fluctuations.
  11. 11. CIO Value to the Organization 11 Conclusion The Chief Information Officer does provide value to an organization. S/he istechnologically savvy, has business acumen, is a successful collaborator, understands business andprocess design, and has the authority to implement integrated solutions (PwC, 2011). Although theeconomic downturn has compelled some corporations to transition IT investment decisions to theChief Financial Officer, the CIO is the appropriate position from which to impact corporate revenue,brand image, and marketplace perceptions (Knowledge@Wharton, 2002). The diagram belowillustrates common threads that were discovered through IBM’s Essential CIO survey. These actionswere analogous across industries and will help the CIO (1) accomplish the vision proposed by thechief executive officer and (2) demonstrate the value technology generates for the corporation. Define new collaboration channels Decrease business process complexity Provide IT expertise to integrate the latest technologies Utilize analytics to predict customer Focus on profitability demand and new revenue streams Figure 1: CIO Essential Actions The CIO role will definitely change in the future as customer demand fluctuates, but theposition will remain. Corporations will increase their reliance on real time data to discover untappedcustomer requirements and will require a corporate executive who is knowledgeable of bothtechnology and business trends. The CIO is hard-pressed to connect with his/her C-suite peers tomaintain IT financial investments and authority.
  12. 12. CIO Value to the Organization 12 ReferencesBusiness Dictionary. (2011). Retrieved August 12, 2011 from, F. R. (2009). Strategic management: Concepts and cases. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.Grover, V., Jeong, S., Kettering, W. J., & Lee, C. C. (1993). The chief information officer: A study of managerial roles. Journal of Management Information Systems 10(2) 107-130. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.Harris, R. (7 July 2011). A shift to CFOs in calling tech shots., M. (25 May 2011). Moving past old technology to new value. Retrieved June 1, 2011 from nomyId=3174.IBM. (26 May 2011). The essential CIO: Insights from the global chief information officer study. Midmarket Perspective.IBM. (2 September 2010). Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the global chief executive officer study - implications for the CIO.IBM. (12 May 2011). The essential CIO: Insights from the global chief executive officer study.CIO Executive Council. (27 August 2010). How CIOs raise stakeholder expectations of IT. June 12, 2011 from (2011). CIO. Retrieved August 12, 2011 from (2002). The changing world of the CIO. Retrieved June 12, 2011 from (2007). CIO balancing act: Keeping IT on the forefront of creating value. Retrieved June 26, 2011 from, J. (2007). An update on business-IT alignment: “A line” has been drawn. MIS Quarterly Executive, 6(3).PCMag. (2011). CIO. Retrieved August 12, 2011 from,2542,t=CIO&i=39685,00.asp.
  13. 13. CIO Value to the Organization 13Peppard, J., Edwards, C., & Lambert, R. (2011). Clarifying the ambiguous role of the CIO. MIS Quarterly Executive, 10(1), 31-44. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from EBSCOhost.PwC. (2011).The strategic CIO’s new role in innovation. Retrieved May 31, 2011 from innovation.jhtml.SearchCIO. (2011). CIO. Retrieved August 12, 2011 from, E. (18 January 2010). What CIOs need to know. Retrieved May 31, 2011from technology-cio-network-hunter.htmlStephens, C. S., Ledbetter, W. N., Matra, A., & Ford, F. N. (1992). Executive or functional manager? The nature of the CIOs job. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from EBSCOhost.Wailgum, T. (11 May 2010). CFOs to CIOs: You Work for me now. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from, T. (21 April 2010). Why is the CFO still boss of IT? Retrieved August 9, 2011 from
  14. 14. CIO Value to the Organization 14 AppendixCIO SurveyA survey was presented to four candidates who either currently or in the past performed in therole of chief information officer. Some identifiable information was deleted due to requests foranonymity. Below is a sample of survey responses received.Respondent AThis individual is the former CIO of an federally funded research and development center(FFRDC), whose customer base is the federal government. 1. Does your perspective differ from this definition? The MITRE CIO is also responsible for trying new technology and services in MITRE that can serve as a model for the technology and practices that we recommend to our sponsors. MITRE should be an intellectual leader for our sponsors 2. Please describe your path to the role of CIO. I spent all my career in the mission and customer facing organizations. I was in the CIO job for only two years. 3. Did you always aspire to become a CIO? If not, what was your dream job? I did not aspire for the CIO job. My goals were always on the mission side of the business. 4. As CIO, what is your proudest accomplishment and why? Establishing the Cyber Security Operations Center, which linked CI&T with the mission organizations to counter the advanced persistent threat. It showed that CI&T could be a thought leader on complex issues and future technology. Also, establishing a vision for the future of MITREs infrastructure as a model for our sponsors future systems. 5. Do you believe the role of the CIO differs within the public and private sectors? If so, in what ways? Often the government CIOs have only policy authority and not fiscal and operational authority. This is limiting. Responsibilities are the same if they have the same authorities, but private sector CIOs usually have more authority to fund and execute. 6. Do you foresee a time when the role of CIO will merge with another executive position? If so, which roles and why?
  15. 15. CIO Value to the Organization 15 Possibly the Chief Operating Officer position. Usually the CIO reports to the COO. 7. What value does the CIO bring to the organization? The CIO should align the IT organization to support the organization’s mission and business. The CIO should be measured by how well the IT supports the mission and business. 8. What are the challenges facing CIOs today? The challenges are to deal with the cyber security threat and to find innovative ways to provide value to the business and to be able to measure the value provided in business and mission terms. the CIO needs to be able to talk to the mission managers in terms that they understand and the dialogue needs to be centered on the business/mission. 9. What is your perspective of mobile communication and cloud computing? Do the benefits they present outweigh the costs and security risks? Mobile computing is the way of the future and is necessary to keep the business in pace with sponsor needs. Cloud computing makes sense from an economic perspective. It is conceivable that Many organizations wont have a substantial in -house infrastructure in the future. The cloud can eventually provide more security and redundancy than in-house operations. 10. How did outsourcing impact your position as CIO? We outsourced whenever it made sense in that it wasnt a core function and the outsourced service saved money. 11. How has the requirement for fiscal management influenced the implementation of innovative corporate IT solutions, and the sustainability of those products? The balance between fiscal restraint and innovation is a constant tension. The key is to partner with the mission organizations so that joint funding can be obtained because the mission manager sees the value added of the investment to his sponsor. The Cyber Security Operations Center is an example of this. 12. What executive collaborations have been most fruitful in meeting enterprise needs? Collaborations with the MITRE mission managers, sponsor CIOs, and with the CIOs in the vendor companies. 13. Who are/were your mentors? Do you continue to participate in a mentor/mentee relationship? I didnt really have any formal mentors; but I learned much from previous MITRE CEOs, MITRE board members, and outside consultants that I hired. I always tried to surround myself with the smartest people I could find. 14. How do you perform work/life balance? What do you do for fun?
  16. 16. CIO Value to the Organization 16 If you really enjoy what you do, work-life balance is not an issue. I always enjoyed and was energized by the national security and technology challenges. Having down time is important. But I didnt need Very much of it. I golf, jog and lift weights for relaxation.Respondent BThis individual was a National Defense University Information Resource Management Collegecertified CIO, but performed as a Deputy Director for his organization. 1. Please describe your path to your role as Deputy Director. This is a fun one – I served 23 years in the Air Force as a Communications Officer with duties around the world and in a variety of technical, acquisition, command and leadership positions. My last active duty assignment was in the Pentagon working for the Air Force CIO – I was responsible for getting the Air Force Portal turned around and used across the service. I retired in 2003 and went to work for Anser as a senior Information Technology Analyst. Our contract was with a “Functional” CIO, i.e., the Air Force Financial Management Office. In that position, I oversaw the input of the service to the Business Transformation Office (the organization charged with putting together an “enterprise architecture” for the DoD’s business systems. I also worked on POM budget requests for the Financial Management ERP solution as well as acted as the executive officer for the SES in charge. In 2004, I applied for an OSD government position through DISA (DISA fills many CIO slots on an on-loan basis, normally on a 2-year cycle). The position was in the Architecture and Interoperability Directorate and was acquisition focused. I was interviewed by Pricilla Guthrie, the DCIO and a senior representative from the A&I offices. Our primary duty was to oversee the services’ and their input of an Information Support Plans (ISP) for Major Acquisition Programs as part of the requirements meeting the intent of DoDD 5000.01. My portfolio included logistical, business and medical systems. (Of special note was since this was a DISA “rotational” billet, it was assumed that person would eventually move back to DISA – interesting since I had not worked in DISA before…). In late 2006, I applied for my current position entitled “Contingency Support Officer.” I fully intended to stay on the OSD staff (i.e., not rotating back to DISA) which helped drive the decision to apply for this particular OSD slot. Using my Air Force background with a heavy emphasis on operations, I considered this position a more natural fit for me. I was hired and started in Feb 2007. Since this was a growing organization, the Deputy Director title was granted to me about 6 months later.
  17. 17. CIO Value to the Organization 17 2. What benefit(s) does the designation of “National Defense University Information Resource Management College certified CIO” provide? In what ways does this designation impact your role as IIS Deputy Director? The NDU CIO Certification is sponsored by the DoD CIO and is a mark of continued professional growth and development. Completing the course work enabled me to further understand the roles and responsibilities of a CIO as well as learn about other areas I thought I could use additional education in. It also was a great opportunity to network with other federal, military, and contractor personnel who were also pursuing their certificates. While in the DoD there aren’t any direct benefits from completing the certification, there are in other departments. In the Department of State for instance, individuals completing the CIO certification were given a 15% bonus (I believe this was an increase in their yearly salary – quite a jump considering the level of the people taking the courses). The designation does assist me in understanding the wide variety of roles and responsibilities associated with the CIO. Most of these are associated with just understanding what we are required to do by law and what are “nice” to do things. 3. How does the role of Deputy Director differ from the role CIO? Which offered the greatest challenge and why? Being a Deputy has its advantages. All the authority of the Director, but the responsibility always resides with the boss. Normally, as a Deputy, you must understand the priorities of the boss and be able to carry them out even if you don’t agree with them. There are many times you must speak for the boss and you must do it with authority and a true understanding of the goals and objectives of the organization. Greatest Challenge – There’s never a dull day in my office. The greatest challenge that I’ve faced is actually defending the need for the Unclassified Information Sharing Enterprise Solution and defending that budget line through the PR-11 and POM-12 cycles. We were originally given a 5% chance of success at the beginning of the budget drill. If I had believed in those chances, we would not have pursued asking for the resources necessary to resolve the geographical COCOM’s stated requirements. We stayed the course, defended the requirement plus the money need and were successful in obtaining the resources required. 4. As a certified CIO, do you aspire to become the next DoD CIO? If not, why not? What is your dream job? No desire to be the next DoD CIO. Up until the announcement of the disestablishment of the OASD(NII), that slot was a political appointee. I have no
  18. 18. CIO Value to the Organization 18 desire to go into the political side of the house (so to speak). As I mentioned before, I have a very heavy operational background and would really love the opportunity to continue to use those skill sets in a Chief Operations Officer role or as a Chief Management Officer role in a Senior Executive Service capacity. 5. Do you believe the role of the CIO differs within the public and private sectors? If so, in what ways? Yes – in the public sector, the CIO role is mandated by law with roles and responsibilities specifically called out. On top of that we have Acquisition Laws and Directives that require CIO involvement in the purchase of weapon systems. Additionally, in the DoD for instance, we have other areas which require CIO involvement. For example, in our office, we are concerned with information sharing in a disaster response and humanitarian assistance. We not only look at it from a data layer in trying to determine standards and ontology that makes sense to the responding communities, we also have to look at systems and applications to be used beyond the normal office environment. In the private sector, the CIO is primarily charged with ensuring IT support is available for the standard business operation (desktop support, standard applications, etc…). I view the public sector as more challenging and filled with unique issues daily. 6. Do you foresee a time when the role of CIO will merge with another executive position? If so, which roles and why? My personal opinion is that is makes sense for the CIO to be under the Chief Management Officer. We are a support organization and can do the duties just as effectively under a CMO rather than the SECDEF. The reporting chain was another mandate by law, but that is changing as organizations are maturing and understanding the value and contributions that the CIO does bring to the table. 7. What value does the CIO bring to the organization? An ability to streamline the multiple systems/applications in use throughout the department via an effective portfolio management process. To do so requires the authority to shut down ineffective and inefficient systems and programs that bring little value to the department. A CIO also provides a focal point for IT related matters so that operators can concentrate on performing their duties rather than worrying about the next IT silver bullet. Additionally, the CIO should be the focal point for all the department’s IT issues and, with such, should be the lead in bringing about consistency within the military departments and agencies. 8. What are the challenges facing CIOs today? Too many cooks in the kitchen. For the DoD, the control of the resources is controlled by the services. We have a say, but we don’t have direct control - yet.
  19. 19. CIO Value to the Organization 19 It is difficult to effectively manage IT resources when you don’t have the budget line. CIOs must be given the authority to cut IT budgets of the services when the pursuit of IT related systems is not in the best interest of the department (and doesn’t meet a need highlighted by the portfolio management process). 9. What is your perspective of mobile communication and cloud computing? Do the benefits they present outweigh the costs and security risks? Very risky environments from an IA perspective. Both of these environments are security manager’s nightmares. Each has vulnerabilities and can be exploited rather easily. With that said, weighing the risks with the associated gains has to factor into the equation. If cloud computing is used for “non-classified” information exchange and non-sensitive material that is intended for a large diverse group, then the risk factor is low and the gains are high. I would never put classified information on the cloud (that’s a given) and would have very serious hesitation about putting sensitive information on it (such as law enforcement, personal medical information, personnel information, etc…). I would pursue putting the unclassified information sharing environments in the cloud computing environment if the associated best commercial practices for information assurance are in place. Mobile communications on the other hand, is something the rest of the world is quickly adapting. For Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Operations, mobile communications is a very important, albeit risky, mechanism for organizations and individuals to respond to the event. The department is pursuing and using mobile communications in a variety of applications, but all at this point are in the unclassified areas. The idea is to get information back to the decision makers as quickly and accurately as possible using as many “sensors” as possible (also known as crowd sourcing). We currently have several projects at the department and service levels which are taking advantage of mobile communications. 10. How has outsourcing impacted your position? Outsourcing has not directly impacted my position. In-sourcing, on the other hand, has. Approximately 1 year ago, the DoD pursued in-sourcing of contract positions to government with the intent on saving 35-40% of the costs associated with contractor positions. Our organization leaned forward and converted 4 positions to government from contractor with an annual realized savings to the department of approximately 35% from our contractor costs. We were able to fill 3 of the 4 slots until the DoD froze all hiring of government based on the SECDEF efficiencies memo. As a prerequisite to the hiring of the government personnel, we had to also decrease the size of our contract staff by the same number of contractors, i.e., 4 for 4. We had to release 4 contractors before the hiring action was complete, so we’re actually down 1 FTE in the government side. Having said that, our work load still has not diminished and we’re expected to still provide the same level of support that we had in the past.
  20. 20. CIO Value to the Organization 20 11. How has the requirement for fiscal management influenced the implementation of innovative corporate IT solutions, and the sustainability of those products? Believe it or not, it’s too early to actually give a good answer on this one. Throughout my DoD career, we’ve always have gone through cycles of austere budget environments with the impending impacts to programs, people, and projects. As the establishment of the new DoD CIO is just beginning to take shape, one of the primary goals of the “new” organization is to get a better grasp and firmer management of the $38 Billion IT budget in the department. Expect changes, however, to what extend remains to be identified and carried out. I suspect ERP programs will get heavy scrutiny as they are big programs and their ability to deliver what was promised is still up in the air. Expect services to have to defend their IT expenditures before the DoD CIO and also expect them to have to explain how those fit into the DoD CIO vision for agile and secure information capabilities. I think we’re still a few years away from fully implementing full control over the IT budget, but it’s on the critical path. 12. What executive collaborations have been most fruitful in meeting enterprise needs? The Functional Capabilities Boards that meet to determine the pathways for each of the functional areas have been rather fruitful. In this regard, I’m talking about the Net-Centric, C2, and Building Partner Capacity Capability Boards. We’ve been involved with each during the last several POM cycles. As with anything in the Pentagon, if you’re not influencing money, acquisition or planning, then you’re really not in the game or providing for the folks expected to carry out daily operations. Through these boards, we’ve been successful in getting our messages out and responding to the immediate needs of our operators. 13. Who are/were your mentors? Do you continue to participate in a mentor/mentee relationship? I don’t really have a current mentor, but I have been involved in a mentor and a mentee relationship over my career. My current mentee is an intern from Marquette University. He is a graduate student that is pursuing a MBA with a Management Information Systems concentration. We’ve been able to highlight to him the value of government service while also discussing the federal hiring process and the pros/cons of public service. I’ve had several mentors over the years – each one with their own unique abilities and strengths. Each one was situation dependent and was at different points in my military and civilian career. Two examples – during my military career, I had the honor of working for Colonel Thomas Griffith, US Air Force. He was the Support Group Commander and I was his deputy. We were responsible for 7000
  21. 21. CIO Value to the Organization 21 personnel in a combat zone in eastern Turkey during the Northern Watch operations over Iraq (1999-2001). He was also a former POW from the first Gulf War having been shot down and captured in Iraq during the first few nights of flying operations. He taught me what really mattered in life and not to sweat the small stuff (well said from a person that went through some ordeals that even he wouldn’t talk about). As I moved onto my civilian career and working as a contractor for the Air Force FM CIO, I had the privilege of being associated with Mr. Richard Gustafson, the SES who was hired on as the Financial Management CIO. We both learned from each other – I taught him the ways of the Pentagon and how to be a SES (having been a support group deputy with so many people working for you, it is required to learn a lot of protocol and how to be a leader). I got from him what it was to be a federal civilian employee and the benefits associated with it as well as the impact one could make in that pursuit. 14. How do you perform work/life balance? What do you do for fun? Organize my day and try to maintain control over it. I start with listing the things I must do for work in the morning and trying to stick with it. Work is but one part of my life – I don’t live to work but work to live. It makes sense to me. But I do take my position seriously and will do what it takes to ensure the job gets done. I do, however, try not to let in interfere with my personal life. My current boss ascribes the same philosophy as well so it works out well. Fun? Never a dull moment in my book. I love to watch football – have season tickets to the University of Maryland. I like to exercise and have a fully equipped commercial style gym in my basement. I also do genealogy research for my family, target and skeet shoot when I get the chance, collect stamps, take my wife out on date night, watch/collect movies (started that when I was assigned overseas) and travel. I’m a certified scuba diver although I really haven’t been in a while (guess I haven’t figured out how to balance that aspect yet…).