IT's impact and year 2000 readiness top CIOs' worry lists

Top challenges for federal systems executives have changed little over the last three
years, according to an annual survey.


Measuring information technology’s contribution to performance and dealing with
year 2000 fixes continued to dominate the third annual survey by the Association for
Federal IRM.


AFFIRM said the results show that IT management and meeting the objectives of the IT
Management Reform Act are also chief concerns among federal IT officials.


“The information technology community continues to undergo a significant
transition started with passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act … and the establishment of
the chief information officer position within departments,” AFFIRM noted in a report.


The top five goals have remained about the same over the three years AFFIRM has
conducted the survey.


“Apparently, the CIO has been faced with the same challenges for some time,”
AFFIRM concluded.


The top 10 concerns echo the requirements of ITMRA:


AFFIRM sent the survey to 270 senior federal IT officials. It received 76 responses.


The results were not surprising, but they validate the concerns heard along the halls
of Washington, said Robert J. Golas, executive director for business development for
Oracle Federal of Reston, Va., and one of the survey project’s leaders.


Michael Lisagor, vice president at Advanced Technology Systems Inc. of Reston, Va., and
chairman of the AFFIRM Emerging Issues Forum, which conducted the study, said most of the
top issues have some link to ITMRA.


“This shows that there is pressure to implement ITMRA and that the CIO is taking
that very seriously,” he said.


The study also indicates that CIOs believe they affect agency decisions. When asked
whether they have a seat at the senior management table, only six people said it was an
issue compared with 20 people in 1996.


“CIOs are dealing with meaningful issues,” Lisagor said. “Gaining a
voice is less of an issue.”


The AFFIRM findings were similar to those of a broader survey of 700 CIOs worldwide
done by GartnerGroup Inc. of Stamford, Conn. The common responses show that government
CIOs and private-sector CIOs face similar challenges, said Arthur F. Chantker, director of
strategic programs for Federal Data Corp. of Bethesda, Md., and a member of the AFFIRM
study group.


AFFIRM has posted all the survey results on its Web site at http://www.affirm.org.

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