By Marc Zellner and Mars Mariano
The commoditization of IT in a world of decreasing budgets has put the Government CIO in unprecedented difficulty. Increasingly perceived as a middleman between the end-user and commercial IT capabilities, the CIO is challenged by the rate at which the user’s desired technologies become available at commercial cost. As with all breakthroughs in engineering and business, success requires an integral change in the management model and a transformation of approaches in providing government enterprise IT services.
This article discusses the issue, “Government IT is not Private Sector IT.” It discusses what limits CIOs from continuous transformation in addressing changes in end-user mission needs toward an innovative model for continuously optimizing government IT costs in an era of perpetual commoditization.
With increasing priority, government CIOs and enterprise IT providers are addressing their end-user value proposition in an era of rapidly commoditizing IT technologies. Particularly in the context of a “bring your own device” (BYOD) workforce, and declining mission budgets, government end-users question the value proposition and threaten circumvention of CIO-provided IT services. End-users want more IT services for less cost and a valued, agile response to their mission requirements.
While all enterprise IT providers face these challenges, the government challenge is distinctly different from those of private industry CIOs; for instance:
- industry focuses on efficiency and profit while government focuses on mission effectiveness.
- industry worries about proprietary information while government must secure public trust.
- industry may outsource to drive down costs but government considers national priority in managing its resources.
- government products are characterized by public concern where as private industry’s products are driven by commercial economy.
Therefore, providing a more agile mode of operations for delivering better cost and mission value is a different challenge for the government CIO and IT provider. There is a native irrelevancy in asking why government doesn’t operate like Nike, Bank of America, Walmart, McDonald’s, Apple, AT&T or even Google.
In an effort to assist government and enterprise IT providers, executives must develop a strategy and subsequent tactics. We ask that government and IT providers work together and take the practical approach of asking two questions:
(1) What current government IT conditions limit the ability of the CIO to respond to mission-user needs, and take advantage of commoditized IT costs?
(2) How do we manage from these conditions toward improved government IT services’ agility and costs?
The answers to these questions will demonstrate how to produce government IT operations that are more agile toward the mission end-user needs as well as optimize the cost of commoditizing IT technology and services.
About the authors, Mark Zoellner and Mars Mariano: Marc Zoellner is the senior vice president of Business Development at VMD Systems Integrators, Inc. Mars Mariano is the company’s chief technology officer.