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The Secrets of the Most Social CIO in the World

David Bray is the 10th CIO to work for the FCC in nine years. He is tasked with heading the IT wing of an organization responsible for governing all wired and wireless communication across the United States. His mission is monumental – modernize the FCC’s aged and elaborate IT infrastructure. In an interview with Peter High for Forbes, Bray explains how being a “Social CIO” is making all the difference.

The Oprah Winfrey of IT

Consisting of 18 bureaus, employing 1,750 people, and running on roughly 207 different IT systems spanning the past 20 years, the FCC is a cacophony of legacy infrastructure and legal stricture. Who could ever streamline such an untamable bureaucratic mess? Answer: a person like David Bray, who needs to be a chief of IT who is part venture capitalist, and 100% social media expert:

I sometimes joke that I’m Oprah Winfrey – “Look under your chair, everyone is going to go home today and you get an IT system. Take it, it’s free!”

Putting People First

Bray led the charge to a single, common, cloud-based data platform, tied all 207 systems together under a single interface / service catalogue, all the while strengthening the skills of his current staff. Bray’s advice for fellow CIOs is fundamentally social – listen to and understand as many people in the organization as possible. Work on improving IT’s public-facing image through the help desk and other portals. Give IT people the leeway to build relationships with users. Encourage bottom-up collaboration between teams and across organizational silos. Most of all, follow conversations on social media – be open to others’ ideas beyond your own input. Such practices saved the FCC nearly $3 million. Bray has proven a strong social media presence through his 142,000 Twitter followers and several CXO Talks videos. There is one more unique thing he does to keep sharp and in the loop though:

I host what I call non-attribution creative brainstorm sessions. It is a place to get together across sectors and have conversations. Anyone is invited and anyone can invite anyone else. It’s almost like real-life social media. That led to other connections as well.

A true leader, Bray always creates an environment that puts people first and technology second. By opening up to creative, talented, and autonomous individuals, it’s amazing what can be achieved in IT.

Read the original interview at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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