blog Whole of Government chief information officers in Australia have a rather chequered history. Virtually every State Government in our fair nation, as well as the Federal Government, have, at one point or another, appointed a centralised chief information officer to provide strategic IT vision and advice to the rest of the public sector.
On paper this sounds like a laudable idea — the Government is doing something about IT strategy, right? But in practice this approach has nearly always failed. The reality is that departmental CIOs have usually been able to ignore central office when it comes to IT strategy … they hold both the budget and the power (reporting directly to their own departmental secretaries) to take their own approach.
However, according to Computerworld, the NSW Government — which has itself in the past had a string of whole of government CIOs, eventually abandoning the approach several years ago — is jumping back into the water. The outlet reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Instead of appointing a GCIO, the government has created the position of government chief information and digital officer, or GCIDO, [minister for finance, services and property, Dominic Perrottet] told the [CeBIT] conference.”
I’ll have more to say about this later on, but I have to say initially that I am not confident this approach is going to get NSW anywhere. The evidence shows that whoever the state appoints to this whole of government CIO role will broadly be ignored and become frustrated at their lack of power. And adding ‘digital’ to their title will not change anything … not one bit.
I’ll be the first to admit if — and I’ll be happy about it — I am proven wrong. But all the evidence from the past shows that this appointment will ultimately amount to little.