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The Changing Role of IT in Local Government

By Emma Finch
Feb 23, 2016

Government, Technology

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According to a recent survey of Chief Information Officers (CIO), 9 out of 10 of respondents feel that their job is becoming more difficult. They are faced with increasing security demands, skill shortages, and an ever-changing landscape of technology infrastructure. Historically, the CIO has frequently ended up as the Chief “Infrastructure” Officer, where they spend the majority of their time maintaining the basic technology infrastructure. Much of their attention was focused on upgrading operating systems and setting up cumbersome client software rather than directing the strategy behind the organization’s information technology and data gathering in order to drive growth and efficiency.

The Changing Role of IT in Local Government This issue goes back to when the client-server model of software was popular. Organizations needed a department devoted to managing the infrastructure and resources required to keep their software and servers running smoothly. The position of CIO was created to manage the implementation of useful technology to support the collection of data and the processes of employee work. However, with the rising popularity of software-as-a-service applications, departments can obtain their own platforms and technologies without involving IT, which frees up the IT department’s time.

The role of CIO is shifting to be more strategic and concentrated on aligning technology infrastructure with the business objectives of the organization. They must focus on ensuring the technology in use is adapting to marketplace trends, keeping up with laws or regulations that are rapidly changing and ultimately helping facilitate the success of their organization. The CIO has an impact on every part of their organization and therefore, the expectations for the role have increased. Many government CIOs recognize that they have an important strategic role to play in their organization and with many governments moving to more cloud software applications, they can be freed up to become the strategic information leaders in their organization. They can shift their focus to anticipating technology trends in the market and improving the quality of information gathered. Better data enables government leaders to make more informed decisions, which positively impacts our communities. This is an exciting time for those in IT and this important transformation is shaping a new future for CIOs.

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