In a recent interview with Government Computer News (GCN), Federal CIO Vivek Kundra revealed some very interesting perspectives regarding the need to upgrade technology infrastructure, enterprise IT architectures, better procurement, and keys to building partnerships between governments and contractors. The GCN interview offers a mixture of policy directions as well as pragmatic advice for technology leaders. I urge readers to pay attention.
Here are some highlights:
1) On infrastructure - "...Why not look at some of these game-changing technologies, like cloud computing? ... What about a migration into a shared-services model? ... Do we really need to spend billions of dollars in data centers across the federal government? Do we really need to use up all this energy when we can do it in a lighter-weight way?..."
2) On government / contractor relationships - "I believe that the partnerships will actually move to higher-value work. What I mean by that is that if you look at a lot of spending right now, we're not addressing some of the tough issues -- issues around re-engineering how these agencies work, rather than just going out and spending money on servers, routers and switches, and configuring them and upgrading them two years later...."
3) On enterprise architectures - "It's meaningless to have architecture filed away in cabinets. You could have the best document that is just sitting somewhere, yet everyone else is moving forward and implementing a completely different model."
4) On better procurement - "...I think we need to simplify. The [GSA] storefront is one model. I don't necessarily think that we need wholesale transformation right away, though we should evolve toward that...."
Other interesting points included an emphasis on reengineering business processes. He rightly described true business transformation as requiring a new way of thinking and not the approaches followed 30-50 years ago.
I think the interview provides an excellent set of objectives and goals for the next few years within governments nationwide. His comment regarding enterprise architectures that are shelf-ware and not really followed shows some pragmatic insight into how things are sometimes done within government. That is, the implementers and the planners are working off of two different game plans and/or are not working together well.
Overall, I believe that this was a very good interview. What are your thoughts?