It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Treasury Board Secretariat chose Corinne Charette as Canada's new CIO.
While she refers to herself as a “down to earth and relaxed individual,” she also spends her free time participating in adventurous outdoor activities such as snowmobiling and boating.
An ability to steer her way forward — no matter what the vehicle or conditions might be — is a perfect fit for her new role, considering the diverse set of challenges she’ll face.
It’s not the good old 90s anymore, when Canada consistently ranked atop global surveys as a leader in e-government and other federal technology initiatives. The country now finds itself slipping in those polls and in the eyes of many Canadians. One look at the wireless penetration rate in Canada can tell a huge story, as many third world countries have stronger adoption numbers.
Within the government itself, issues such as security, transparency, consistent and rigorous reporting and project delivery are key priorities. Citizens want to know where their tax dollars are headed. And for any investment that is made, they want to be sure it’s actually needed.
In her first major interview as federal CIO and ahead of her first major public address at this week's GTEC 2009 conference in Ottawa, Charette made it clear that effective project delivery ranks at the top her priority list.
“We have been doing a good job . . . but we think there’s an opportunity to definitely do better,” she admitted, adding that federal government projects, by their very nature, are massive, complex, and usually involve numerous departments.
The problem, according to Charette, is that IT projects have historically operated separately. She wants to change that and push shared responsibilities between government decision-makers and IT implementers across all departments and agencies.
She calls it “coordinated IM/IT investment,” and it will be a task for both Charette’s relaxed and driven side.
For example, if something the Canada Revenue Agency uses for taxation can be used in the department of Human Resources and Skills Development, that link needs to be made, she said.
While it certainly makes sense for these agencies to occasionally work in their own silos, she added, common investment is not something the public sector should fear. The fact that the federal government maintains and operates multiple financial management platforms and a variety of HR management systems really highlights these inefficiencies.