Chief Information Officers:

Implementing Effective CIO Organizations

T-AIMD-00-128: Published: Mar 24, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2000.

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Jack L. Brock, Jr
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the role of chief information officers (CIO) in the federal government.

GAO noted that: (1) as the federal government moves to fully embrace the digital age and focuses on electronic government initiatives, leadership in the management of the government's information resources is of paramount importance; (2) yet a CIO, alone, cannot ensure the successful implementation of information management reforms; (3) rather, the CIO must be buttressed by the full support of agency heads, the commitment of line managers, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, effective measures of performance, highly skilled and motivated information technology (IT) professionals, and a range of other factors; (4) the practices and key characteristics defined in GAO's CIO guide can put agencies on the right path toward incorporating these ingredients; (5) moreover, they can help agencies and their CIOs to identify and correct underlying information management weaknesses that have undermined their modernization initiatives; (6) they can even help ensure that agencies will be well positioned to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies in order transform service delivery and performance; (7) however, implementing the practices alone is not enough; (8) to achieve real successes, agency executives as well as Congress must provide sustained support and attention to facilitating CIO effectiveness and addressing any structural changes facing CIOs; and (9) using this support, CIOs themselves must be now focused on results--making sure that IT investments make their agencies more innovative, efficient, and responsive.

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