September 16, 2010 — Before becoming the Commerce Department’s chief information officer, Simon Szykman held the similar title at the National Institute of Standards and Technology for a little more than three years. The biggest difference between the two positions is the approach Szykman has to take.
At NIST, Szykman had more direct control over how the agency manages and uses technology. Now heading up the entire department, he must play the role of facilitator and collaborator.
Szykman said there are more touch points, more internal customers and more bureau level CIOs to work with and ensure strong relationships are created and maintained.
Along with the relationships, he had to learn more details of all the investments and short and long-term priorities.
Among his top priorities are cybersecurity, improving the department’s efficiency and effectiveness in using technology and improving how his office monitors IT projects.
Syzkman said data center consolidation, strategic sourcing of IT products and services and enterprise-wide services are among the ways he wants to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Commerce technology programs.
He also is overseeing a new program to train cybersecurity professionals in the department. The goal is not necessarily to hire new employees, but improve the training of the ones already in the department.