GAO: Federal, private-sector CIOs' jobs similar

Of the 12 functional areas that federal CIOs are responsible for, their private-sector counterparts share eight of them, including systems acquisition and information security, according to the Government Accountability Office.

And of the four areas that public and private-sector CIOs differ functionally, enterprise architecture is by far the most significant.

In a report released yesterday, auditors interviewed 20 private-sector CIOs and found similarities with their federal equivalents in both job functions and challenges they face.

"In most functional areas, there was little difference between the private and federal sectors in the percentage of CIOs who had or shared a particular responsibility," GAO said in a report sent to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and Adam Putnam (R-Fla.).

This report follows another one GAO prepared in July 2004 reviewing responsibilities of 27 major agency CIOs.

In addition to enterprise architecture, GAO found that private-sector CIOs did not have responsibility for strategic planning, information collection, and information dissemination and disclosure like their federal counterparts did.

The functional areas where public and private-sector CIOs had the most in common were:
  • Systems acquisition, development and integration: 25 federal; 20 private sector

  • Capital planning and investment management: 27 federal; 19 private

  • Information Security: 27 federal; 19 private

  • E-government initiatives: 25 federal; 18 private
The private-sector CIOs said their major challenges included aligning IT with business goals, implementing enterprise technologies, controlling IT costs and increasing efficiencies, and ensuring data security and integrity.

Federal CIOs listed similar challenges last summer, including strengthening cybersecurity and using effective IT investment management practices.

Finally, GAO said that 16 of 20 private-sector CIOs have an executive committee that has authority over major IT investments.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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