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U.S. Federal CIO Tony Scott reveals his biggest achievements

Thomas Macaulay | Feb. 6, 2017
He also offers advice to his incoming replacement to serve under Donald Trump

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Image: iStock/tupungato via CIO UK

The White House welcomes a new first family on January 20 as the Obamas bring their eight-year stay at the presidential residence to a close, and outgoing Federal CIO Tony Scott believes the incoming Trump administration needs to recruit "tech-savvy people that represent all aspects of life in our country" as he passes the government IT leadership baton over to a new pair of hands.

CIO Scott has been part of the Obama administration for almost two years, and oversaw big changes to government IT policy during his tenure. He hosted a gathering of everyone involved in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before he departed

"It was great to see all of these people who starting right years ago really got into tech and started what I think has been a  pretty continuous history of opening up government data, of focusing on critical technology issues and i think also just recognising the increasingly important role that technology plays in everything that federal government does," he told Jason Miller of Ask the CIO on Federal News Radio.

Scott is confident that the new administration will be left with a greater than the one it replaces, but was reluctant to pinpoint his greatest achievement.

"I think of it more as the continuum of effort, of beginning to modernise IT in the federal government, of opening data, of focusing on some of the critical tech issues that from time-to-time come up and it's pretty clear are going to keep coming up no matter who's in office," he said.

Improvements needed

Transforming information system silos to shared platforms and a commitment to cloud were among the most important moves that his successor will still need to develop.

"There was a whole bunch of pretty heavy debate going on and to take a stand like that as we did eight years ago and to say this is a good thing and the government's going to commit itself, ultimately led to the adoption of quite a few cloud services across the federal government," said Scott, who was Microsoft CIO from 2008 to 2013.

"If you look at the hype cycle for things, there's always the early adopters, then there's a bunch of debate, then there's the trough of despair as people actually get experience and then there's the hard work that goes into actually doing the work to make the things operationalised in any institution."

The administration's most important IT policies cited by Scott were the update of the Circular A-130 broad guidance for federal agencies and the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which changed the framework for buying new technology and gives the federal CIO a stronger voice.


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