Open Gov Partner Approach: Chief Technology Office (Post 5 of 8 in Series)


A CTO's mission is to leverage the power of technology to improve service delivery and drive innovation within agencies. They are responsible for the transformation of capital - be it monetary, intellectual, or political - into technology that is aligned with agency strategic goals. They are concerned with the architecture, design & development, security, operational integrity, system support and maintenance across the IT organization.


A common misconception is that Open Gov is about implementing new Web 2.0 tools across agencies, thus CTO’s are key implementers of this change. The truth is that CTO’s are important to Open Gov, but are just one of many key participants. What is also true is that Web 2.0 tools are an important piece of attaining true Open Gov, but are not the sole contributors to its success.

The CTO should be responsible for delivering IT solutions with a focus on technical problem solving, thus when standing up an open government tool, they will be particularly concerned with the following questions:

  • What tools will best solve agency needs?
  • What are the latest Web 2.0 technologies available for use?
  • What applications and services can my agency leverage by taking advantage of offerings on
  • How can my agency effectively leverage to increase transparency, citizen participation and collaboration?
  • What contests can my agency create to encourage citizen collaboration and participation? What applications can they build to help my agency achieve mission goals?

Partner’s Bottom Line:

In order to implement an open government tool that considers the answers to each of these questions, CTO’s should:

  • Utilize the latest technology solutions offered on including business applications, cloud IT services, productivity applications, and social media applications. Leverage terms of service already agreed upon by GSA and approved for use across the government.
  • Bring OGC, OPA, and HR offices into the fold as early as possible before making final decisions on tools to implement. All will be involved in open government decisions, especially as they relate to the introduction of new social media and Web 2.0 technologies.
  • Ensure a robust business needs governance structure is in place which allows program level stakeholders to request new technologies to meet their individual needs, while considering the overall enterprise architecture. Ensure duplicate technologies are minimized.