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DIA CIO Discusses Automation Benefits & Challenges

Digital transformation is coaxing CIOs to look at how automation can help meet service demand

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Janice Glover-Jones, CIO of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Janice Glover-Jones is chief information officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), where she provides support to customers around the globe and manages thousands of employees. Ms. Glover-Jones became Deputy CIO at DIA in July 2012 and was promoted to CIO in December 2014.

How is your CIO job different than that of a private sector CIO?

It is the same in that providing security and preventing cyber intrusions is a paramount concern for any CIO. However, DIA has a unique responsibility — the nation’s defense — so it is essential that we practice good cyber hygiene, focus on reducing vulnerabilities, and maintain a proactive cyber defense posture.

What are your short-term technology goals for DIA?

I am focused on moving to digital technology and creating a data-centric environment. My ability to rapidly accelerate the adoption of new digital tools and technology to deliver capabilities at the speed of mission is imperative, and that is where I am focused for the next five to ten years.

What are your biggest current challenges?

The biggest challenges we currently face are delivering capabilities with the speed and agility that our customers demand, and keeping up with the rapid pace of change in technology, as well as the volume and velocity of data.

Another challenge is ensuring that the skills of our workforce keep pace with technology, while continuing to develop new skills and technology from a government perspective.

How is DIA using automation to support its customers?

I look at automation from multiple vantage points. Virtualizing your technology within the infrastructure is one component of it, and we started on that effort several years ago when we moved from primarily physical hardware servers to virtual servers.

Automating processes is another component, and we are in the process of adopting new tools and capabilities that will reach out to the customer and provide them with more advanced administrative processes and services. We are also automating and updating our personnel management system.

What are the best use cases for automation at DIA?

From an infrastructure standpoint, my ability to achieve a self-healing network is a top priority. But there are use cases across the entire enterprise at DIA, not just on the IT side, but also on the mission side of the house, as well as business components within the financial and human resources departments. Automation can be adopted across every functional area within DIA.

Are there any drawbacks to automation?

One drawback is that automation can cause employees whose jobs have been impacted to feel as though they have no value and that automation will replace their work. It is important for us as leaders to make employees understand their unique ability to solve problems, to utilize automation, and then retool their skill sets. Automation is good, but there are some things automation cannot do and there will always be a role for humans.

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