In our last episode of the podcast we sat down with our GM of Government, David Wilde, and quizzed him about his experience of being the CIO at Westminster, Essex County Council and the London Borough of Waltham Forest - to discuss the key elements that Local Government CIOs require in order to succeed in this demanding role.
Successful CIOs need to triangulate the needs of their organisation, external stakeholders and the implications of technology disruption.
What makes Local Government CIOs unique is the breadth of functional responsibility; there’s quite some distance between the priorities of adult services, and waste disposal - a successful Local Government CIO is able to engage internally and externally across this diverse portfolio of responsibilities.
You will be primarily judged on whether you ‘keep the email working’. Demonstrate value with the bread and butter responsibilities in order to gain credibility with projects that move the needle.
Understand your organisation’s drivers - and those of your key partners and stakeholders. In government, it’s critical to ‘see the bigger picture’ and support the agenda of the elected leadership.
Technology changes - effective CIOs keep abreast of the implications for their organisation of emerging technologies, and changes to the vendor landscape.
Don’t think too longterm - the future is unknowable, and can look after itself. The transition from the present to the near future is where your focus should be.
Recognise, recruit and retain good people. It's impossible for a CIO to know and understand everything there is within the range and scope of technology. Always try and hire people who are smarter than you!
Communication is key. Leading change in an organisation with such diverse needs, is only possible when you are able to carry the least technical people in the organisation with you. Seeing the bigger picture won’t get you anywhere if nobody else can see what you’re looking at.
Tim is the Community Director at Government Transformation magazine, maintaining engagement with our public sector audience through learning and networking activities, and hosting the weekly GovX Show.