WASHINGTON -- Federal agencies large and small are in the midst of a wave of ambitious IT projects, but their relative success hinges in \n\nlarge part on the ability of the CIO to align the technology overhaul with the organization's mission and to secure the support of senior \n\nmanagement.\n[ CIOs \n\nLook to Shared IT Services for Government Agencies ]\nIn a panel discussion here at a government IT conference hosted by EMC, senior technology officials stressed the importance of eliminating \n\nthe siloes within government organizations to win support from the business units of the agency.\n"It comes down to building the process, getting the buy-in as a CIO," says Barry West, CIO at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. "A \n\nlot of this is negotiation, getting your buy-in within the agency, getting folks to understand what you're trying to accomplish early on, rather \n\nthan just telling them that they're going to be doing something."\nThe "buy-in" that West and other government leaders describe is of critical importance in addressing the cultural challenges that have \n\nslowed the evolution of agencies' IT operations.\nThe innumerable layers of bureaucracy that attend the scoping, procurement and deployment of new technology systems in the federal \n\ngovernment already make major IT projects a heavy lift.\nCIOs Face Cultural Resistance and Bureaucracy\nBut the CIO's job is further compounded by what many officials describe as an endemic cultural resistance to change, particularly when \n\nthere is the perception among the staff that new technologies threaten to make certain job functions -- and the employees who perform those \n\nfunctions -- obsolete.\n[ Government Cloud Use Requires a Culture Shift ]\nThose challenges have come into sharp focus as the Obama administration has been promulgating directives around areas like shared \n\nservices and pooling information resources in multi-tenant, consolidated data centers.\n"Culture and bureaucracy are the two barriers," Dan Morgan, chief data officer at the Department of Transportation, says of the challenges \n\nof breaking down the siloes in which agency and bureau IT shops often operate. "People just need to stop hugging their data. People love their \n\ndata so much."\nPart of the friction can be explained by the traditional role of IT departments as a self-contained unit within the department or agency, \n\nMorgan says. In that environment, it's little surprise that the tech units and the business personnel can sometimes seem to be working at cross \n\npurposes.\n"There's got to be a change in the way the CIO and IT partner with the business," Morgan says.\nWest echoes that call: "I think the end user community just needs to be really tied in a businesslike manner with the CIO and the CISO in \n\neach agency," he says "That would be my recommendation."\nBut that has to be a two-way street. While officials generally acknowledge that IT leaders could do a better job of integrating themselves \n\ninto the business operations, agency leaders from the director on down have a role to play in facilitating that interaction.\nThat's especially true in the area of cybersecurity, says West, who is critical of the tendency of some business workers to relegate those \n\nconcerns to the CIO's department.\n"I think so many times the CIO's shop is just looked at as, well, 'Hey, this is cyber, this is your work,'" he says.\n"They have to meet halfway. It has to be a partnership," he adds. "It has to be people from the business unit that are meeting the CIO and \n\nthe CISO halfway."