With the recent elections come a host of new administrations and CIOs taking the helm. These officials will now pilot the unpredictable waters of public-sector IT. As captains of technology, the CIO's expertise is more frequently sought to do more than navigate or keep the engines running efficiently.

While still a relatively new title, some CIOs are more strategists or business executives than technology gurus. So this begs the questions, what should be the CIO's role? Is the CIO a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Chief Security Officer (CSO) or even CEO?

What's in a title?

Playing the name game with CIO is fun and fairly enlightening. Here are a few of my own favorite possibilities for the new breed of CIO:

  • Chief Innovation Officer: one who sees things in a different way and brings new solutions to the organization. The chief innovation officer asks "what if" instead of "how to."

  • Collaboration Investment Official: Getting all parties to communicate and work together, and gaining stakeholder trust is perhaps the most important ingredient to success.

  • Chief Intelligence Officer: transforming data into knowledge so the application of information produces desired results. Harnessing the latest and most effective technologies to help people learn by their own choice -- such as blogs, podcasts and interactive training -- inspires confidence through understanding.

  • Consolidator of Internal Operations: Many CIOs must squeeze efficiencies out of existing infrastructures and combine departments or functions.

  • Creative Investment Organizer: CIOs must be adept at finding new and alternative funding models to consistently subsidize IT innovation, versus the typical silo competition for dollars or discretionary decisions to support key citizen service initiatives in today's world of competing priorities for general funds. Public-private partnerships, outsourcing, grants and performance-based contracts are but a few of the myriad methods that must be used to get something done.

    Whatever the specific roles CIOs and their brethren assume, it is clear the future belongs to those who can reach for new possibilities, engage others in their vision and provide leadership. I hope Government Technology's Public CIO helps your journey. Please feel free to contact me with your feedback.

    Jon Fyffe  |  Publisher