Federal CIO Pushes for Cloud Computing

March 22, 2010

I was reading an interesting article this morning in ComputerWorld entitled “Federal CIO calls for modernizing ancient government systems” in which Vivek Kundra, federal CIO describes how the Obama administration hopes to use IT (pursuing cloud computing) to improve public services.

For example, while recently speaking at the University of Washington, Mr. Kundra stated that its takes the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 160 days to process benefits because it’s passing manila folders from one desk to another. In another example, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office takes three years to process a patent, in part because it “receives these applications online, prints them out, and then someone manually rekeys the information into an antiquated system,” Kundra said.

According to J. Nicholas Hoover of InformationWeek, Mr. Kundra has launched a formal process to dig deep into at-risk and failing IT projects in the federal government, and those that come out on the wrong side of analysis could end up on the chopping block.

In order to address these inefficiencies, Mr. Kundra is looking to the private sector for cues on how to do a better job with IT.

The federal government is the world’s biggest spender on IT — the 2011 budget calls for $79 billion worth — and Kundra has pledged to ask tech companies not just for bids but ideas on how to improve and update its operations.

According to Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times, Kundra, 35, has worked to bring federal data and IT programs online, solicited public input with Web systems and encouraged agencies to consolidate and share resources such as data centers. Kundra cited consumer Web technologies such as the Open Table reservation service, United Airlines‘ online reservations and YouTube as inspiration for the sort of convenience and accessibility he’d like to see offered by the federal government.

In an effort to make government data more accessible, it’s developing web sites such as USASpending.gov and creating open APIs for government systems that would allow independent developers to create useful applications for citizens, similar to iPhone applications.

In addition, several agencies internally are turning to cloud computing to include the U.S. General Services Administration’s usa.gov and apps.gov. Even Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced that all government agencies will shift into a private cloud environment by 2015.

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Key Account Director

Marc Barry is an experienced sales leader in the Enterprise Technology Industry including Software, Cloud and Consulting. Currently, he is the Key Account Director at <a href="http://www.oracle.com">Oracle</a>. He was previously a Venture Partner at OpenView.