Information and Technology Management:

Achieving Sustained and Focused Governmentwide Leadership

GAO-01-583T: Published: Apr 3, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 2001.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Office of Public Affairs
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The rapid pace of technological change and innovation has offered unprecedented opportunities for both the government and commercial sectors to use information technology (IT) to improve performance, reduce costs, and enhance service. A range of issues have emerged about how to best manage and integrate complex information technologies and management processes so that they are aligned with mission goals, strategies, and objectives. Although IT can help the government provide services more efficiently and at lower costs, many challenges must be overcome to increase the government's ability to use the information resources at its disposal effectively, securely, and with the best service to the American people. A central focal point such as a federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) can help ensure that attention to IT issues is sustained and increase the likelihood that progress is charted and achieved. Although GAO's research has found that there is no one right way to establish a CIO position, critical success factors GAO found in leading organizations, such as aligning the position for value creation, are extremely important considerations. Finally, the experiences of statewide CIOs offer a rich set of experiences to draw on for ideas and innovation. A federal CIO, as well as agency-level CIOs, must develop effective working relationships with state CIOs to discuss and resolve policy, funding, and common systems and technical infrastructure issues.

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