I'm a big believer that bureaucracy can actually be put to good use. It's often used as an excuse for nothing happening. But digital transformation is all about culture change, and bureaucracies are really good at bringing about enduring change. Governments have operated the way they have for hundreds of years, and we need to operate in a respectful way that’s not disruptive to the history and heritage of the establishment. We must ensure that we build change management into the implementation of the platform. The problem is it takes time and patience. That’s actually a good thing! You don't want to make a quick decision, only to find you don’t have the buy-in that you need to marshal the entire enterprise behind you. One of my biggest learnings from my last job as CIO for the U.S. Army was that moving fast doesn’t always give you enduring, long-term results. Sometimes moving slowly up front and building consensus can give you massive momentum. Once you build it up, you can actually go much faster.
Digital transformation is all about democratization. My job as a CIO was never to be the person to do everything. I was the chief “inspiration” officer. It’s about how we bring everybody along, show them the art of the possible, and put the tools in their hands. When you do that, you can achieve massive momentum at scale, even though the first few weeks, months, or even years might be pretty hard. And I think that's why we must never underestimate the power of the bureaucracy, because when they are behind it, when they get it, things will happen much, much faster than anything else.