David Wallace has a long history in both the public and private sectors. As Ontario’s chief technology officer, Wallace is unique. Not just because he’s David Wallace and you’re not, but because he works in the first government body he knows of to create such a position. Wallace spoke to TIG about
his role and the future technology direction of the Ontario government.
TIG: How does your job differ from that of the CIO’s?
DW: The CIO is looking at the whole information management and information technology mandate of the government of Ontario. He’s looking from the best perspective and even how to get ahead of the business requirements and deal directly with the senior levels and the deputy level and through the chiefs to the assistant deputy minister and other levels.
The technology office is a new position because there aren’t any that we have found in any other government — there are some chief architects, there are some service delivery people who have the technology direction responsibility, but there isn’t really any CTO I can just call up and say, “”How did you get your job going?””
So over the last four to five months, I had to really put together with the team I’ve been assembling a mandate that is fairly unique in a government setting, but not that unique in private industry. CTOs were created for the first time only only about four to five years ago because the CIO was getting dragged into technology too much and what businesses wanted was more of a business involvement in the CIO role to be at the senior table. After I did some research into what was going on or not going on out there, we started looking to our customers, the CIOs and the chiefs and the corporate CIO himself. What we learned from them was of course they had a myriad of business requirements, but they also wanted to get in front of the technology. They wanted to say, “”Where are we going so we know our investment is the best approach, because it takes a long time sometimes to move out of a particular technology?””
Some of the other areas they’re interested in are adopting existing technologies but using them in new ways. For example, some of the mobile devices we have can be reused in terms of applications,. There are a number of pilots being done across the government.
We’re looking at working with our economic business cluster to put together a mobile and wireless strategy together for the government to co-ordinate all these efforts. And that’s the other group that reports into me — a group called Applied Technologies. So we have the architecture group, a change management group, a breakthrough group, and this applied technology group. Their responsibility is to work across government to see where the horizontal opportunities are and a lot of that is reusing what is already in place.
TIG: Your education background is in business. Where did you learn IT and how has that business background helped you?
DW: I started of