Why acting Energy CIO Don Adcock thinks IT is at a pivotal innovation point

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2014_11_Optimized-iStock_000026992970_Large Acting Energy Department CIO said it’s time to realize what’s possible through IT service management. (Credit: iStockphoto.com)

Acting Energy Department CIO Don Adcock is serious about service, be it service through IT or service to his country.

That service, Adcock said, is what drives him to be so passionate about the possibilities in front of today’s CIOs.

At a Wednesday forum sponsored by ServiceNow, Adcock highlighted how products, like ServiceNow’s IT service management system, have allowed CIOs to create an entirely new line of service, providing the backbone of what an organization needs to achieve its mission.

“There was a time where the CIO had a value to sitting at the table and was a key part of the CXO framework, but over time they became the guy that you would reach over to during a staff meeting and go ‘My BlackBerry’s not working,'” Adcock said during his keynote speech. “It’s time we get back to the table and show them that we understand the mission and use tools like this to show them how we can drive change and innovation.”

Adcock stressed that ServiceNow allowed him, along with other Energy Department bureaus, to make data-driven decisions across areas that traditionally sit in stovepipes: facilities management, IT asset management and human resources.

“We need to be using the tools to track our enterprise that gets to the data and exposes it in ways that are very helpful,” he said.

Some of these helpful tools are coming from the department’s network of national laboratories, which are using ServiceNow along with other IT service management suites to create new tools to manage everything from open science projects to nuclear security. Adcock highlighted one program at the Argonne National Laboratory that allows employees to track ice across the facilities campus in order to avoid accidents or workplace injuries.

“[The laboratories] jumped on this, and they are really trying to figure out how to take this tool and really focus it on a tough mission issue and empower that tough mission issue,” Adcock said.

After Adcock saw all the departmentwide uses, he met with a ServiceNow representative and decided to up the ante: He created the IMPACT challenge, aimed to inspire people across the department to create new tools that will use the platform in ways never before seen. The winner will be submitted to a contest at Knowledge 15, ServiceNow’s yearly expo.

“If we do this together, look at the power we have as a service provider enabling our mission,” Adcock said.

The platform is not only responsible for internal department innovations. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the department developed several tools for the public, including an app that allows people to highlight power outages and search for functioning gas stations in the wake of a natural disaster.

“So now the American guy or gal sitting in their car at a gas station can geo-tag the gas station, take a picture, upload it to an interface, and I can take the data, I can call [the station], I can search for them and figure out ‘What do you need from me to stay in business?'” Adcock told FedScoop.

Be it internal or external innovation, Adcock was adamant that the time is now for CIOs and other IT professionals to take control of the tools at their disposal in order to drive considerable advancements.

“I need to start harnessing technology that so that I can start showing the enterprise that we can be a service-oriented enterprise,” Adcock told FedScoop. “I’m not asking [the department] to buy a tool. You’ve already bought the tool. What I’m asking you to do is shape and integrate it so that we can harness the true power at the enterprise level, which is it the reporting, the analytics and driving business decisions.”

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Department of Energy (DOE), Departments, Don Adcock, ServiceNow
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