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The new CIO agenda: Evolving for agile in government


As a government CIO, the role of IT is in the midst of a transformation. IT is at the heart of how governments are meeting citizens’ expectations and delivering public value.

Yet, even as IT has become a strategic driver for public service organizations, many IT infrastructures and supporting processes are stuck in a bygone era. And, many CIOs are asking: How can we be agile and responsive in a digital world—while operating with outdated tools and approaches?

Accenture sees evidence that some government CIOs are making real progress in orchestrating the mix of yesterday, today and tomorrow technologies. Whether you’re just starting the journey or seeking help in advancing it, every CIO needs to think through how you’re evolving for agile in six key areas (see Figure 1).

  • Technology & Architecture

  • Delivery Models

  • Roles & Workforce

  • IT Organization

  • Capabilities

  • Sourcing & Partnering



In California, state leaders are moving to embrace agile development. In a March 2016 article, Techwire explores some of the challenges and opportunities they’re likely to face:

“One could argue that California is diving into the deep end in its attempt to use agile development instead of traditional ‘waterfall’ project principles that are much more common in the public sector. Executives leading the Child Welfare Services—New System (CWS-NS) project are eager to work iteratively on small modules that can be put into the hands of state and county workers in a matter of months instead of the several years it takes for a ‘big bang’ release. Project managers hope the approach will be less risky and more responsive to the changing needs of customers.

But the state of California must overcome some cultural barriers in using agile development, because IT has been conditioned for many years to work within the waterfall approach. Peter Kelly, deputy director of the state’s Child Welfare Services Division, said he’s been advocating for agile as long as he’s been working for the state. ‘There is a different way, dare I say a better way, to deliver value to our customers,’ Kelly said. ‘What’s really important is that we have early and frequent delivery of business value. And we are going to become agile and nimble,’ Kelly said with certainty.”


The public service landscape is evolving rapidly as the old world gives way to the new.

Old World New World - TC Graphic


Keir Buckhurst

Keir Buckhurst
Managing Director, Technology Consulting
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