The new Programme for Government has been announced by the coalition in Ireland and one of the most important aspects of it is the announcement of the position of CIO. Whilst you might think this is only of interest to those who work in technology, I think it has the potential to be a critical role in preparing the country for renewal.

I’m looking forward to seeing a CIO with real teeth and real vision who understands that information is power and power should be given to as many people as possible. This should include:

  • Interoperability to be an overarching concern for all projects
  • Mashups and data mining across departments/areas to be promoted
  • No new public sector projects to be approved without an API even if that is just RSS
  • APIs to be freely available for use by the public wherever possible. Only exception is where individual’s privacy may be impacted. Where this is an issue, anonymised aggregated data provided.
  • A CIO Solutions Catalogue to be created with examples of successful projects from all areas of the public sector that can be re-used
  • Strong ongoing data-mining of e-tenders system to find repetition and redundancy and to guide those putting up RFTs to re-use or customise existing solutions
  • An agile approach to all projects. Quick prototypes mandatory (See EI Americas web-site as perfect example)
  • An avoidance of boil-the-ocean projects and a move towards simple quick wins locally which bubble up nationally
  • Promotion of online communications tools wherever possible to reduce public sector travel, both for cost and environmental reasons. This includes things like IM, Yammer, Wikis, desktop sharing, webcam-based video conferencing  etc etc
  • Metrics for success defined at early stage of all projects and reported on at regular intervals
  • Open Source to be preferred for all projects
  • Off the shelf Open Source to be even more preferred
  • All IT projects to be evaluated by office of CIO for re-use or redundancy.
  • A reduction in the use of external consultants (particularly the large multinational ones) and a focus on upskilling the public sector themselves in all of the above so there is no need for these consultants
  • Upskilling of people at every level in the public sector so that IT initiatives become driven by needs from the bottom up
  • An end to Not-Invented-Here Syndrome
  • A move to “good enough” solutions
  • Overspends of more than 30% of original budget on any public sector IT project to be escalated immediately.
  • Strong relationships built between the private sector tech community in Ireland and the public sector to keep both aware of latest developments
  • Once per quarter IRLCamp where public sector and private sector get together and present interesting projects, ideas and technologies and learn from each other. These lightweight BarCamp style events will have people at every level, not formal Powerpoint from senior people.

To see what is already happening and what we can learn from that’s happening in the USA, see my recent Web2Ireland post here.