Public sector CIOs: Top tips on surviving a new government

Listen, build trust and deliver quick wins...
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

Listen, build trust and deliver quick wins...

With a number of major government IT projects already earmarked for the axe or significant scaling back by the Conservative party, the tech landscape is likely to look radically different in the event of a Tory election victory.

And with the General Election just months away, public sector CIOs should already be preparing for the changes a new government could bring and looking into how they could be affected by any incoming Tory administration, according to analysts.

Unlike in the US, there is little time between the election result and the new political leaders taking power in the UK, so CIOs need to start planning now, Gartner VP and former state CIO for Michigan, John Kost, told an event in London yesterday.

In order to be well prepared for a change of government, CIOs should look at what their potential new bosses say regarding technology - and their department in particular - during the election campaign.

By taking notice of such pronouncements, CIOs can work out how they can use IT to support what the politicians say they want to achieve - both through initiatives already underway and by devising new approaches that could help achieve these objectives - thereby demonstrating how IT can help political leaders deliver on their election campaign promises.

Houses of Parliament

A new government could herald big changes for public sector IT bosses
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

IT chiefs should also look at projects that could hinder politicians' objectives to make sure new department bosses are aware of the challenges they face, as well as the opportunities.

CIOs will also have their work cut out for them post election. The impact of new personalities within a new government should not be underestimated and IT bosses will need to assess how tech-savvy incoming political figures are. "With a new cast of characters, how will IT governance likely change? Do they get this IT stuff at all?" Kost said.

Building communication and establishing trust with new political leaders are crucial for any government CIO following an election, according to Kost.

Public sector heads of IT should therefore ensure they provide politicians with relevant information around tech projects that are progressing well, as well as those that are struggling or face challenges. "You've got to be honest at this point," Kost said.

Another good approach for government CIOs at the beginning of a new government is to provide ideas for quick wins that politicians will identify with and which could help build political capital during the early days of a new government. "It's important to realise who your audience is and what's important to them," Kost said.

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