The failure of IT reform

June 10, 2012

Mark Forman and Paul Brubaker write in Federal Computer Week of 18 May 2012 on ‘Why IT reforms have failed to make much difference’. They ask for government IT reforms in three key areas:

  • “Clear authority, responsibility and accountability”
  • “Clear goals for productivity gains”
  • “A viable, transparent common framework for creating new government operating processes”

Whilst I agree with the need for the reforms, from three people who’ve occupied senior posts as government officers I would have expected less naivety. We’ve had a brief change when the Chief Information Officers got to the top of the greasy poles around the place but in far too many cases what they said wasn’t welcome – they too asked for processes to be changed, for technology to be employed after the services we re-aligned and that it wasn’t a matter of technology.  Similarly they will have pointed out the need for outcomes that are deliverable but requiring changed processes.  Given the politicized system’s inability to deliver solutions to these, the CIO will have found themselves unable to deliver and being replaced with a technical functionary who does what the politicians and their advisors request without demanding wider change.