President Obama’s choice for the next Federal Chief Information Officer is a law school graduate and career IT executive without government experience. Here is what every IT manager should know about Tony Scott – long-time Microsoft executive and most recently CIO at VMWare:
1. He’s Got a Killer Resume
Scott is among America’s top CIOs, a member of CIO magazine’s CIO Hall of Fame, which honors IT chiefs who “profoundly shaped the technology-enabled business landscape.” He’s held CIO roles in multiple industries and at some of America’s leading businesses: He was CIO at Microsoft, the Walt Disney Company and VMWare, and was Chief Technology Officer for Information Systems & Services at General Motors and VP of Operations at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
At VMWare, which he joined in 2013, Scott championed speedier IT services to gain the upper hand on the competition. “Speed is everything in this day and age,” Scott told CIO Journal last August. “If I’m slower to market with some capability our business needs, we’re dead.”
2. He Is a Washington Outsider
Scott may be from outside the beltway, but his nomination is far from outside the box.
Scott’s appointment continues the Obama administration penchant to inject “outsiders” into key technology posts. Vivek Kundra, the inaugural Federal CIO, had worked with local governments in the D.C. area, but had no federal experience prior to his appointment. Steven VanRoekel, the second CIO, was a private sector exec at Microsoft with less than two years of government service under his belt when he took the job.
Becoming the third permanent appointee to hold the Federal CIO job, Scott joins Federal CTO Megan Smith, a former Google executive, and Mikey Dickerson, head of the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) and another Google alum, as high-profile federal tech executives from leading Silicon Valley tech firms, notes Jack Moore at Nextgov.
There is no consensus on whether these positions should be filled by Washington “outsiders” or “insiders.”
Scott is “the right person” to drive results while pushing the administration’s “smarter IT delivery agenda,” write Shaun Donovan and Beth Cobert, director and deputy director at the White House Office of Management and Budget, in a White House blog post.
3. He Is a Cloud Enthusiast
Scott has his head in the cloud. He even has his own playlist (favorite lyric: “Hey, you, get off of my cloud,” from the Rolling Stones). He wrote How to Avoid Cloud Paralysis, which offers suggestions to CIOs who are about to begin the initial stages of cloud computing.
Way back in 2010 he committed Microsoft to moving 85 to 90 percent of its internal apps to the cloud by 2020. And at VMWare, he pushed the company to break into the federal cloud market.
Maybe it all ties back to another passion for clouds: Scott is an amateur pilot. “With all those hobbies, it’s the technology associated with them that intrigues me as much as the activity itself,” Scott said in an interview with CIO magazine.
4. ‘IT is a contact sport’
The rules for IT management are changing, Scott says. “If we just stick to the old model where IT is the back room and the kind of place that everything just drains to at the end of the day, in terms of both information and dollars, then there’s not as much hope that things will evolve the right way,” he said in a Nov. 4, 2014, interview with VMWare. “IT is a contact sport, and you’ve got to be engaged and a part of the discussion to be a part of that transformation and to provide value.”
5. He’ll Need to Hit the Ground Running
Scott will oversee IT strategy for an administration proposing to spend some $84 billion on information technology next year. (See MeriTalk’s breakdown of the budget proposal here.) Experts are already predicting how Scott will allocate his budget.
According to Donovan and Cobert, Scott should help the White House drive its Smarter IT Delivery agenda, in particular: driving value in IT investments, delivering world-class digital services, and protecting IT assets and information.
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