news Technology research and advisory firm Gartner has appointed former whole of Federal Government chief information officer Glenn Archer to the role of research vice president in its public sector research group, several months after the executive resigned from his post in early February.
Archer was appointed Australian Government chief information officer in December 2012. At the time, the then-Labor Federal Government had split its troubled IT strategy division, AGIMO, in two, promoting internal staffers (including Archer) into two new chief information and technology officer roles in line with the recommendations of the Reinecke review regarding the agency’s future.
Archer has a strong history within the Federal Government. Prior to taking up his prior AGIMO role in June 2010, he had been CIO at the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations from January 2008, and prior to that, CIO at the Department of Education, Science and Training from February 2007. He had previously held a number of senior IT roles at Centrelink. As far back as 2001 he was a sales and channel manager for Cisco Systems, and he’s also worked as a major account manager and systems engineer at Apple.
Archer holds a B.Sc. from the Australian National University (ANU) and an MBA from the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales (AGSM).
AGIMO, which evolved out of the National Office of the Information Economy in the early years of last decade, is responsible for setting whole of government technology policy when it comes to the internal IT operations of the Federal Government. However, with much of the practicalities of such a role remaining in practice in the hands of individual departmental chief information officers and secretaries, AGIMO has appeared to struggle at times to find its place.
Documents released under Freedom of Information laws in April 2012, for example, appeared to show that the minister overseeing the Federal Government’s peak IT decision-making agency was concerned about its ability to deliver on a whole of government technology strategy, with yet another review being commissioned into its performance. And in November 2010, consultant Ian Reinecke in his review of the Government’s implementation of the Gershon IT reforms confirmed AGIMO had successfully delivered many of the reforms, but revealed there were a variety of conflicting views about the agency’s efficacy held throughout the Federal public sector.
At the time, Gershon recommended the Department of Finance and Deregulation, which houses AGIMO, undertake a thorough assessment of the agency’s two separate roles – policy development and operations/implementation — to consider whether the group should be separated in two.
In December 2012 the Federal Government took action on the Reinecke and Gershon reports, splitting AGIMO in two. One of the two public servants appointed to a more senior role in December 2012 was Archer, previously First Assistant Secretary, Policy and Planning, within AGIMO. Archer’s CIO role was to focus on whole of government ICT policy; while a colleague, John Sheridan, was appointed chief technology officer to focus on whole of government service delivery.
Archer’s resignation left Sheridan as the Federal Government’s most high-profile centralised technologist, although other departmental CIOs from departments such as the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Human Services and Defence are likely to have more hands-on power in terms of major technology projects.
In a statement issued today, Gartner said Archer would now advise Gartner’s senior government technology and executive clients globally. The primary focus of the executive’s research will be the rapid transition to digital service delivery by governments, specifically in the context of the business and operational implications, and the opportunities available to governments to better leverage emerging technology solutions.
Gartner managing vice president Andrea Di Maio, who leads Gartner’s public sector research team worldwide, said the appointment came as governments across the world pursued digital strategies.
“The digital transformation of citizen services as well as internal information and processes is partly due to the opportunities created by technology, and partly a consequence of political agendas seeking a quantum improvement in constituent service and operational efficiency,” he said. “Glenn’s experience in balancing these demands will make him a very valuable advisor to Gartner’s public sector clients globally.”
Archer is not the only government chief information officer to take up a position in Australia’s IT analyst community. Steve Hodgkinson, for example, currently director of Ovum’s government practice in Australia and New Zealand, was previously deputy CIO and director of eGovernment Strategy and Policy for the Victorian State Government.
Image credit: Glenn Archer