CIOs say consolidation and cybersecurity top priority list

CIOs and IT managers will focus on systems consolidation and security through the end of the fiscal year.

That's the chief finding from a new survey of 44 CIOs: 29 from civilian agencies, nine from the Defense Department, and six from the legislative and top-level executive offices. The driving factors behind IT consolidation are cutting costs and improving network cybersecurity, respondents said in the 15th annual Federal CIO Survey.

CIOs also identified risk management, integrating physical and IT security, and assessing the vulnerabilities of less crucial systems as among their top priorities.

The survey, conducted by the IT Association of America, found that CIOs want to reduce the number of e-mail, file and print servers in use as well as cut the number of data centers. They also reported to ITAA that moving to enterprise software licenses is important.

"These results underscore the role of technology both in wringing new savings and increased efficiency from business systems and in supporting more efficient management across government," said Harris Miller, president of the Arlington, Va., association.

Aside from IT consolidation and cybersecurity, CIOs will continue to focus on strategic planning to align technology and agency mission goals, project management improvement and enabling e-government, the survey found.

CIOs said finding qualified employees remains one of the biggest challenges, especially experienced middle managers. The IT chiefs also said e-government has lost some of its force, compared to previous year. They cited two reasons:

  • Progress has been made implementing many of the Quicksilver and Lines of Business initiatives.

  • The management structure of the 25 Quicksilver projects has become engrained.

Paul Wohlleben, chairman of ITAA's CIO survey task group and a partner with Grant Thorton LLP of Vienna, Va., said the survey shows CIOs have attained a high profile within the federal management structure. He pointed specifically to the findings: 67 percent of the respondents said they report directly to the secretary or agency head, 92 percent are a part of the executive management team, and 76 percent said an executive council reviews IT investment decisions.

CIOs said their biggest management barriers are a shortage of time for strategic planning, resolving conflicting priorities among programs and making sure employees have the adequate skills.

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