Federal CIO Suzette Kent said today that lessons Federal agencies have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic need to drive further efficiencies in government IT operations in order to better prepare operations for any future emergencies.

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Speaking at an event organized by ATARC, Kent said the last meeting of the CIO Council – for which she serves as director – discussed how agencies can learn from their pandemic experiences.

“We understand the impact of connectivity of access and of usability – for all of the audience types – and the unique needs of our citizens,” Kent said today. “We need to look at approaches to modernizing end-to-end processes that require partnership between Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial governments.”

The Federal CIO also emphasized that progress on modernization strategies and improving capabilities in “normal times” – as well as in emergency responses – should be a consistent goal because it will drive better outcomes for American citizens.

Several focus areas of the President’s Management Agenda, and efforts of partnerships between the business and technology communities, have helped agencies achieve mission continuity during the pandemic, she said.

Those include the “flexibility and scalability that cloud-based solutions have afforded us,” Kent said.

She continued, “The rapid response actions that were possible because we had configurable commercial platforms with reusable services and our investments in data have also proven to be an accelerator for our response efforts, ranging from tactical protocols for sharing across mission spaces to the work efforts on tools which yielded faster actions and steps to mature the data quality, which helped support data-driven decision making.”

Real-world stories of Federal agency CIO approaches to the demands of the pandemic may be found in MeriTalk’s CIO Crossroads series.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.