The services of former Australian Government Chief Information officer (AGCIO), Glenn Archer, have been quickly snapped-up by US headquartered global technology research and advisory firm Gartner, as the private sector increasingly looks to capitalise on the turnover of talent in senior public service ranks.
The technology analysis house on Monday officially announced that Mr Archer had taken up an appointment as research vice president for its public sector research group and will officially commence duties on 19th May, just a week after the forthcoming federal Budget is handed down.
The hiring of Mr Archer into the senior role reflects ongoing strong demand for technology executives with hands on experience of government operations at the same time as the public sector is forced to rapidly digitise its service offering to be on par with user experiences offered by the private sector.
Gartner said that Mr. Archer will advise its senior government technology and executive clients globally and that the “primary focus of his research will be the rapid transition to digital service delivery by governments, specifically in the context of the business and operational implications, and the opportunities available to governments to better leverage emerging technology solutions.”
Mr Archer’s departure from the role of Australian Government CIO comes as the recently elected Coalition government seeks to redouble efforts to make public sector services and transactions available online as a means to increase convenience and reduce waiting times, administrative overheads and costs.
Prior to leaving the public service, Mr Archer had led the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) that was initially created under the Howard government a decade ago in April 2004 to lead whole of government technology strategy.
The creation of the AGIMO followed the splitting of roles under the former National Office for the Information Economy.
The 2004 split resulted in technology policy functions being absorbed by the then Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, while strategy for government use and purchasing of technology was sent to AGIMO that first answered to the Special Minister of State and later the Department of Finance.
AGIMO’s role and influence was not without controversy; particularly after the appointment of renowned UK cost cutter Sir Peter Gershon to run a ruler of federal technology spending in an effort to extract around $1.4 billion in savings from IT-related expenditure.
Many agencies were wary losing funding from the top-down review, a suspicion that was borne out after Treasury snatched close to $500 million in initial savings that were pumped back into general revenue rather than applied to reinvestment in more modern IT systems.
Having previously been CIO at both the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the Department of Education, Science and Training, Mr Archer succeeded Ann Steward as the second AGCIO in 2012.
During his time as AGICO Mr Archer became regarded as both a high level strategic thinker and a skilled and pragmatic diplomat in terms of building a tangible whole-of-government information management strategy.
Gartner’s managing vice president Andrea Di Maio, who leads Gartner’s public sector research team worldwide and to whom Mr Archer now reports, wasted no time in marketing the analyst firm’s latest high profile hire as being of international benefit.
“The digital transformation of citizen services as well as internal information and processes is partly due to the opportunities created by technology, and partly a consequence of political agendas seeking a quantum improvement in constituent service and operational efficiency,” Mr Di Maio said.
“Glenn’s experience in balancing these demands will make him a very valuable advisor to Gartner’s public sector clients globally,” he said.
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