DorobekInsider.com: Kundra clears up the ‘go around the CIO’ controversy

Sunday - 5/31/2009, 11:29am EDT

The post is long overdue — but I think it is still important… and I wanted to get it on the record for our ACT/IAC Management of Change panel Monday regarding the changing role of the CIO…

I posted earlier about federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s comments at AFCEA’s Bethesda, Md. chapter earlier last month, which some people interpreted as suggesting people should bypass their IT shops to get things done. As I said then, I don’t think it is what Kundra was inferring, but… it is the way many people took what he said. [Find a link to the audio from the AFCEA Bethesda event here.]

A few weeks ago at the GSA sponsored 2009 Government Web Managers 2–Day Conference, Kundra further clarified his comments. You can hear him for yourself here … but… What he was saying, I believe, is that IT organizations — and CIOs — need to enable their organization to use technology toward their mission. And that too often CIOs have been CI-Nos — they have been the folks who tell you why something can’t get done, rather then the people you go to when you want to get something done. The challenge now is that people can go around the IT organization to get things done.

I sent Kundra a note letting him know how people were interpreting his comments — and he explained that isn’t what he was inferring.

You can hear Kundra explain further form the Government Web Managers conference. I have posted the clip of that specific segment here. You can hear the full presentation here.

Essentially, my interpretation of what Kundra is saying is telling IT organizations that if you want to remain relevant, you have to be an enabler. You cannot be the CI-No. And that means looking at all the options out there that can help the agency accomplish its mission — and that may include potentially free tools.

Meanwhile, Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Max Cacas was at the government Web managers conference. And he filed several stories.
* Web managers meet fed new media superstars [Federal News Radio, April 30, 2009]
* White House team uses Web 2.0 to reach out to public [Federal News Radio 1500 AM, May 1, 2009]