Briefing

Federal chief information officer Alex Benay leaves government for new executive role at MindBridge Analytics

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The government’s top technology executive will begin his new role in September. Mindbridge makes artificial-intelligence (AI) tools for accountants auditing financial data. In June, the Ottawa-based firm was awarded $14.5 million from the Strategic Innovation Fund and announced a $15.1-million investment round. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Benay is leaving as some of the biggest projects he’s spearheaded are ready to be implemented. He proposed a new way for government to acquire big technology systems, asking software companies to build prototypes for small rollouts instead of awarding a single contract for a product to be launched across all departments at once. Ottawa is testing this process as it picks a replacement for the Phoenix payroll system, and has shortlisted three firms to run pilot projects later this year. Benay also co-authored a plan for the government’s use of its internal data, which requires every department and agency to have an information-management strategy in place by September. And, he tried to introduce more AI into the government, working with the procurement ministry to speed up acquisition of the technology by pre-approving 74 firms to bid on projects. Benay’s departure leaves the government looking for its third CIO in four years.