Interview: Federal CIO Suzette Kent on Federal IT during COVID-19

Speed, Collaboration Drive Pandemic Transformation – Federal CIO Q&A

“Since becoming the fourth Federal CIO in early 2018, Suzette Kent has been a tireless advocate for government IT modernization and the benefits that better technology can bring to citizens. A prime mover behind OMB’s President’s Management Agenda that drives modernization as the key to improving Federal agency mission outcomes, Kent has skillfully put those ideas into action as leader of the Federal CIO Council.”

“In normal times, there might still be room to debate the relative benefits of modernization. But the last 12 weeks of Federal IT performance and transformation in the midst of pandemic have settled the question once and for all. Kent offers the proof: civilian agency investments in modern infrastructure and applications have yielded an 800 percent increase in telework capacity. That allowed many agencies to send 80-95 percent of their workforces to safer locations.”

“Because modernization based on secure and scalable technology already was well underway, smaller pilot projects could be grown quickly into mainstay programs to meet pressing demands. Examples include a cybersecurity pilot that jumped from 10 percent to 80 of capacity, and the creation of emergency funding portals in less than a fortnight. At the same time, older ways of doing things – like wet signatures and printing – have gone to join that old desktop PC in the basement.”

“In an exclusive interview with MeriTalk as part of our CIO Crossroads series, Kent highlights the pillars for Federal IT’s strong performance during the COVID-19 pandemic – speed, collaboration, ingenuity, scale – and even more speed. From the early days of running triple-shifts in the IT shops to the relative stability of the new normal, those concepts continue to drive rapid change to meet whatever lies ahead…” Read the full article here.

Source: CIO Crossroads: Federal IT in the COVID Crisis – Federal CIO Edition – June 12, 2020. MeriTalk.

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