Over the last few months, government CIOs have proven how much they can achieve in a limited time. Remote working technology rollouts, system capacity changes, new services and significant resilience increases have all been delivered in timeframes that would be considered impossible under normal circumstances. Government agency CIOs have had the added complexity of managing aspects of their government’s response to the pandemic, effectively increasing their workload well beyond the baseline.
Governance and decision-making has changed during the pandemic. Executives within and across agencies have joined to create decision-making teams like never before. Opinions have been sought, and options considered that would not have seen the light of day in regular executive briefs and routine governance procedures. Decisions have still been made and recorded, oversight has still occurred, but the delays have been removed. Many CIOs have earned significant trust and respect, and for some, they now have a seat at the table.
As businesses reopen and staff return to the workplace, this is the time to use the trust and political capital to shape the future program of work to ensure valuable public money is spent where it will matter.
Use what you have learned to leave behind the complexity, unnecessary governance, and internal competition that has built up around your ICT investment decision-making. Now is the time to decide what is working and what is getting in the way. Now is not the time to fall back into cumbersome and rigid business-as-usual governance processes. Continue to use the decision-making structures you have discovered during this pandemic, and make the best parts of them the new normal. Keep the decisive decision-making that has arisen from your shared focus, by continuing the collaboration, opinion seeking, and open communications that worked so well during this time.
Extend the excellent work already undertaken by re-evaluating your application and project portfolio, considering the lessons learnt during this time, to ensure the flexibility and resilience of your agency is increased and not reduced. Target funds to projects that remove time-consuming and error-prone manual processes wherever they exist in your organization. Free your ICT staff to work on the digital transformation of your agency, understanding the services, and products your organization exists to deliver. Your people need to understand the “business” of your agency and provide valuable, context-aware, and targeted services to the organization.
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