Five minutes with…
Corinne Charette, chief information officer of the federal government
Corinne Charette has been chief information officer of the government of Canada since May of 2009, and is responsible for government strategies and policies for information technology, information management, security, privacy and access to information.
But what’s she been up to since her appointment, and what’s happening in IT with the feds right now? Ottawa Technology sat down with Ms. Charette to find out. Ottawa Technology: What has been your focus since coming into the job last year? Charette: The focus that we’ve adopted over the last eight months, and what we’ll be working on for the next three to five years, is to be much more efficient and judicious in where and how we invest in the federal government. Our real challenge is to ensure we’re not doing the same thing over and over again in different agencies and departments. So our focus is an enterprise initiative, where we can make investments once and then implement them in other departments. Ottawa Technology: How will you do that, exactly? And how will you achieve cost savings? Charette: As an example, we’re trying to consolidate our investments in HR maagement systems and financial management systems, and we’re looking at all of the different mechanisms to streamline and consolidate investments into modern systems that will service more than one department when their needs are the same.
In terms of cost savings, we’re in the process of working on a number of business cases. Because business cases are certainly important, and we insist on having a business case before launching any new initiative. And right now we’re at the strategy phase for identifying what’s the best way forward. Ottawa Technology: How important is Web 2.0 in the overall IT strategy for the government? Charette: It’s definitely part of our strategy, at this point. At the 2009 GTEC conference, my predecessor announced the “GCPEDIA,” which is accessible from any government desktop, and that wiki has really taken off – the number of new users is certainly over 200 per week, if not more. And this is meant to be accessible to any public servant across the country. This is meant to be an umbrella wiki, but other departments have strong wikis as well – NRCAN is probably the gold standard right now.
And wikis are turning into a very strong tool for the government for knowledge retention, which is a huge challenge, because we have some people with 20 to 30 years of experience in a certain field.