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GSA’s McClure: Cloud Causing Reflection on CIO Role

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Dave McClure, GSA; Photo: gsa.gov

The federal “cloud-first” mandate, which directs agencies to begin prepping for cloud computing-based services, also has agency-level chief information officers, once the wielders of nearly limitless IT authority, facing a “culture clash,” FierceGovernmentIT reports.

Dave McClure, associate administrator at the General Services Administration’s office of citizen services and innovative technologies, said along with the technological shift must come a shift in thinking for agency CIOs.

“We just created CIOs a couple of decades ago,” he said last week at a Coalition for Government Procurement event. “Many of them now have a lot of power, and we’re starting to take away all that tangible stuff that they own and say, ‘Well, we just really need to make sure that we’re using services in a way that make a positive outcome.’”

In the intervening years since the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act created agency-level CIOs, the role of the agency’s IT authorities has widened as technology has made inroads into essential operations. But with cloud’s promise of a shift away from asset ownership in favor of service provisioning, they are facing a fork in the road.

“Cloud computing is a service. This is fundamentally a shift for government,” McClure said.

It’s a shift that promises rapid scalability and a more nimble approach to federal IT, he explained.

“We want to be able to turn things up quickly or turn them down, do it on demand,” McClure said, according to FierceGovernmentIT. “We want to be able to scale up quickly–in a matter of minutes and hours, not weeks, months and years.”

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