The Government Chief Digital Information Officer (CDIO) project, initiated in April 2021, is an ongoing endeavor in Sri Lanka aimed at revolutionizing the digital governance landscape. Rooted in the need for a role that bridges the expertise of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Digital Officers (CDOs), the CDIO position was conceptualized to oversee and lead all facets of IT and digital strategy. While this role is commonplace in countries like the UK, it was relatively unfamiliar in the Sri Lankan job market, prompting the need for its introduction.
The key motivation behind launching this project was to establish a multi-faceted competency profile for CDIOs, making them not only recognized within the state sector but also sought-after in the corporate realm. This convergence of administrative and technological competencies is seen as a critical driver for digital transformation in the Sri Lankan government.
The project's overarching objective is to design and adopt a CDIO model that seamlessly integrates into the impending digital government transformation. Several specific objectives contribute to this larger goal. These include the assessment and identification of capable resources, building a competent pool of CDIOs through absorption and acquisition, establishing the CDIO role as a change agent for digital transformation, enhancing the capacity of potential CDIOs, enforcing CDIO governance mechanisms through the Ministry of Technology, and appointing a private sector top talent CIO resource panel to support and mentor CDIOs.
The CDIO is envisioned as a transformational leader who will play a pivotal role in driving rapid digital government transformation. This will necessitate a significant cultural shift and the CDIO acting as an evangelist for digital transformation. The ultimate aim is sustainable and progressive development and the establishment of an operating model characterized by self-reliance.
The project's scope encompasses various critical elements, including the formulation of the CDIO Model, the launch of CDIO positions, the creation of a CDIO hiring matrix, the development of a CDIO governance model, and the organization of national capacity-building workshops for the identification and training of 60 potential CDIOs. Additionally, the project involves hosting monthly meet-ups for CIOs, appointing 50 CDIOs for Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) organizations, appointing 500 CDIOs in total, and publishing annual reports to track progress.
Stakeholders and partners involved in this ambitious project include government organizations, consultants from industry, government, and academia, existing CDIOs, Public Digital UK, UNDP, and CITRA LABS. Their collaboration is vital to the successful realization of the CDIO role's potential and the transformation of Sri Lanka's digital governance landscape. As the project continues to evolve, it holds the promise of not only reshaping the government's digital strategy but also contributing significantly to the broader digital transformation agenda.