Most CIOs Can't Keep Track of IT Spending, Says New Report

Mike O'Brien

Most chief information officers are not able to fully estimate and keep track of information technology spending at their places of work, according to a new report.

The main reason is that most CIOs do not oversee all IT spending and that IT costs are often embedded in other programs instead of being separate budget items.

A survey was carried out by the IT organization TechAmerica and consulting firm Grant Thornton.

It included responses from 41 CIOs and information resources management officials from several federal agencies, including the General Services Administration, Defense and Agriculture departments.

More than 60 per cent of those who took part said they lack confidence in their ability to track and estimate IT spending.

Budget and spending as the top concern for CIOs, followed by attracting and retaining qualified personnel and cyber security.

Seventy-one percent of CIOs said acquisition workforce challenges have worsened over the last two years, Federal Times reports.

The survey also found that department CIOs control an average of 57 percent of their agencies’ IT budget, but that number varies.

It concluded: "Especially with declining budgets, most CIOs do not believe they can be responsible for how agencies invest IT funds if they do not control the IT budget."

George DelPrete, a principal at Grant Thornton, said CIOs "do a good job with understanding major investments and tracking those," but he added that CIOs are often not informed of many minor investments so they rarely get the full picture.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel told House lawmakers earlier this year that existing laws provide agency CIOs with adequate authority to get their jobs done. But he said many current and former CIOs have complained that their agencies’ structure and culture have constrained their ability to carry out these duties.