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Maria Roat: Federal Agencies’ Digital Modernization Investments Helped Address Pressing Workforce Needs

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Maria Roat
Maria Roat Deputy Federal CIO

Maria Roat, deputy federal chief information office and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, has said the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in federal agencies executing the transition away from siloed operations to support remote work needs.

Roat told FedTech Magazine in an interview published Monday that the government’s cloud investments “really paid off” in providing flexibility and expanding the use of collaborative technologies including login tools and virtual private networks.

She noted that the CIO Council was able to help remove bureaucratic barriers to addressing workforce needs in line with standards detailed in the Federal Data Strategy.

The council has also launched efforts such as training programs to help the federal government bring in more data scientists as it continues work on emerging technologies like 5G connectivity, according to Roat.

Speaking on former federal CIO and fellow 2020 Wash100 Award winner Suzette Kent’s view on information technology modernization as a multiyear effort, Roat said she agrees on this aspect and that digital transformation is “not a one-off activity.”

“I think over the next few years, as we’re looking at government IT, I want to continue to see that transformation,” said Roat. “I talked about the momentum that we had earlier this year with the pandemic and being able to move so fast. I want to be able to move that fast, and I want that to continue.”