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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Agency CIO councils perform offstage

"Federal insiders expect larger role for internal councils

The CIO Council, a mandated product of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, is well-known for its influence on governmentwide information technology projects, but relatively little is known about its cousins at the departmentwide level.

Yet those CIO councils, many of which predate Clinger-Cohen and the federal CIO Council, could have a greater impact on their department's IT developments, particularly as agencies tackle endeavors such as creating an enterprise architecture. The key to the councils' success is their structure, said David Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office.

Agency CIO councils' ability to guide IT development largely depends on the clout that the agency's CIO has in the executive hierarchy, said Jim Flyzik, a partner at Guerra Kiviat Flyzik and Associates, former Treasury Department CIO and former chairman of the federal CIO Council.

Flyzik said he believes the role of CIO councils will expand as the role of IT moves from being a support function to one that encompasses an agency's entire operation.

To keep pace with that change, he expects CIO councils to eventually merge with other bodies, such as human resources and CFO councils, and to become hybrid organizations with a wide range of skills."

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