Stuart McGuigan, former chief information officer at the Department of State, stated that the department has become more agile today than when he arrived in 2018. Since joining the State Department, McGuigan has worked to streamline the Authorization to Operate (ATO) process to increase efficiency.
“Cloud solves a lot of problems — access, availability. But the heart is an infrastructure play if you are just thinking about cloud. So what we have been pushing for is software-as-a-service,” McGuigan said.
McGuigan noted that the State Department has driven software-as-a-service, leveraging low-code, no-code configuration capabilities to provide process support for users. Since they operate within a safe and secure platform, there is no overhead and delay, increasing speed to market by using SaaS cloud based capabilities.
He added that fundamental principles of agile, continuous feedback, deep engagement with the user and rapid iteration became the operating model for the State Department. “We didn’t spend a lot of time having philosophical debates on what agile is. We just did the work,” McGuigan said.
“We will benefit from the innovations that could occur anywhere in the department and everyone would get access to the very best the department can do, or they can contribute something new and innovative and get rewarded for that,” McGuigan said.
He also urged the Department of State to build on the technology foundation the department has established, especially around collaboration and mobility, and to create more secure mobile platforms. McGuigan added that the incoming CIO should analyze critical success factors to reach policy goals, then leverage the basic capabilities to accelerate growth.
“Analytical modeling and data analytics will be a big play. But more and more having the access to the same information and same tools across a variety of devices in a variety of environments where traditionally we have been hardwired,” McGuigan stated.