Smart Government - IT as a Force Multiplier

Tuesday - 7/3/2012, 1:52pm EDT

July 5, 2012

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Government leaders can allow the budget crunch to be a crisis, or an opportunity to be more cost effective and re-think how business is done. Learn how IT transformation has the potential to be a catalyst for ‘smart government' and can serve as a force multiplier for future mission success.

Guests:

Van Hitch, Senior Advisor, Deloitte Consulting LLP; Former CIO of the Department of Justice
Clarence Crawford, Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP; Former CFO of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management



Show highlights:

• Using the budget crisis as an opportunity for IT transformation and cost savings
• Long term strategic planning—moving IT from the back office to the frontlines
• CIO and CFO collaboration
• Full alignment of IT function into agency mission

The following is a full transcript of FedCentral' s interview with Van Hitch, Strategic Advisor, Deloitte Consulting LLP and former Department of Justice CIO and Clarence Crawford, Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and former agency CFO, conducted by Jane Norris on July 5, 2012. To listen to the full interview go to http://www.deloitte.com/us/fedcentral

Jane Norris
Welcome to Fed Central, brought to you by Deloitte, a program where executives and federal government leaders talk about the issues and initiatives that are making a real impact on the business of government today to help government help America.

In today's state of austerity and on today's show, we'll be talking about the ways that agencies can adjust. IT transformation has the potential to be a catalyst for agency transformation. Government leaders can allow the budget crunch to be a crisis or an opportunity - an opportunity to begin to think differently about how they do business. To be smarter and more cost effective and technology can be part of the solution.

Joining us today to discuss smart government and how IT can serve as a force multiplier in an environment of physical constraints, is Van Hitch. Van, is a strategic advisor for Deloitte's federal practice, where he helps federal CIOs identify long term transformation opportunities, to leverage technology, to fundamentally change the way they do business. Prior to joining Deloitte, Van held the honor of being the longest serving federal CIO in his role as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief Information Officer of the Department of Justice. Hi, Van.

And also, Clarence Crawford. He's a Director in Deloitte Consulting's Federal Practice, with nearly 40 years of experience working in the federal government. Prior to joining Deloitte, Clarence served as CFO for the Office of Personnel Management, as well as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He also worked as the Associate Director for Administration in the Office of Management and Budget. Gentleman, a pleasure to talk with you both, in the same room.

Van Hitch
Great to be here.

Clarence Crawford
Yes.

Jane Norris
I should say Clarence is the former host of this show, so I feel a little transplanted here. All right. So let's talk about this idea that CIOs and CFOs should really be working together to help transform their agencies. Van, talk about that from an IT perspective first.

Van Hitch
Well, IT traditionally was viewed as a back office operation, something that helped crunch the numbers for the CFOs and created big reports and things like that. But that view is really decades old. Today, IT is a lot more. IT is at the core of agencies fulfilling their mission and enabling them to do a better job for our citizens. And in order to really make that a reality, CIOs and CFOs have to collaborate. They've got to really get together around this idea of IT as an asset, IT as a business function and an enabler for their mission in order to get the programs going that are necessary to make IT effective.

Jane Norris
Clarence, are CFOs talking to their CIO counterparts?

Clarence Crawford
I think it does happen—probably not as much as it should. I think that the CFO and the CIO have a unique perspective. An enterprise-wide perspective on what's going on within the agency. So I think understanding the agency mission and then working hand in hand with the program managers - the people who run the mission side of the agency - to begin to think about how they can do things differently. Like the CIO, finance was always considered a back room operation, not very important. Clearly, not important to the mission of the organization, but I think as we go forward and the progress that's been made over the years, IT and finance can be key partners in helping agencies navigate the very challenging times ahead.

Jane Norris
Is it working? I mean, is this happening - this kind of collaboration?

Van Hitch
I think it's happening to some extent but not nearly to the degree that I would like to see it happen. And I think it's necessary. It's not just CIOs and CFOs. It's really the executives of the whole agency. The operational people, the secretary level people, the [Dep. Sec.] people. They need to be in partnership, in terms of what's important to the agency and how they are going to accomplish those things over the next five years. IT can play a major role in that, if they're in on the discussion and at the table when those things are discussed. So those are the kind of discussions that have to happen and unfortunately, it's not something that can just kind of happen at the drop of a hat. You don't wait that the budget is due and then say, "Okay. Now let's start talking." Let's start talking about what we're going to do with IT. It really has to be part of the process of strategic planning and the whole organization with all those key people at the table, including the CIO and the CFO, and then IT needs to be an integral part of that. How do we enable making these missions changes happen?

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