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New Federal CIO poised to continue CloudFirst strategy

JudyRedman on ‎08-22-2011 08:26 AM

KundraVanRoekel.jpgSteven VanRoekel is the new Federal CIO, taking over the post vacated by Vivek Kundra earlier this month.  When I learned Kundra was leaving, I asked: "Will Kundra’s strategy endure? And what will be the impact of his departure on Federal IT and on U.S. taxpayers?" It seems we are already getting some answers.


Although brand-new to the Federal CIO job (Kundra’s official leave date was Aug. 12) it appears VanRoekel is embracing Kundra’s cloud strategy and taking it a step further.  In a FedCloud interview  VanRoekel said: “Vivek’s work was really the first step in a larger rework of government IT.” 


3 reasons for hope


I was heartened by the early reports on VanRoekel for three reasons.  First, he’s been in government before, both at the FCC and most recently with the U.S. Agency for International Development. And he worked at Microsoft.  So he has the chops in both public and private IT. Second, Van VanRoekel is no stranger to doing tough IT transformation jobs for the government.  VanRoekel worked with Kundra on a data center consolidation project and a cloud computing project.  So the new Fed CIO knows first-hand about Kundra’s strategy and what it takes to implement a “Cloud First” project.  Finally, and most importantly, VanRoekel said in a New York Times article that his job will be to execute on the sound strategy that Kundra envisioned with an emphasis on bringing the same levels of IT productivity that the private sector sees to the federal government.



I hope VanRoekel can move the Federal IT transformation agenda forward quickly.  The U.S. government needs to benefit from more cost-efficient IT as soon as possible.  And I hope he will carry Kundra’s torch longer, as a commitment beyond two years is necessary to see through the transformation of government IT.  After all, the U.S. Government spends more on technology than any corporation and any country.   


Those of you interested in this topic can learn more about Kundra's CLOUD2 commission, a team of public and private IT experts charged with making recommendations to move cloud computing into the mainstream of America's IT.    This post by my colleague Jeff Bergeron, "TechAmerica Commission makes cloud recommendations and offers free Cloud Buyer's Guide," has more details. 



Canada lays down the gauntlet?


Canada maple leaf.jpgIn related news, just last week the Canadian government announced it is jumping on the U.S. IT transformation bandwagon as it will close all but 20 of its 300 data centers.  In addition, the Canadian government has created a new unit called Shared Services Canada where all resources involved in email, data center and network services will be moved into one all-encompassing system.  Why?  Hopefully the transformation will save taxpayer dollars and help Canada balance its budget as well as “streamline IT, save money, and end waste and duplication.”  Sound familiar? 


Perhaps the new US Federal CIO can take Canada’s initiative as a challenge to move faster in the U.S. execution.  What do you think? 


Several months ago, I gave Vivek Kundra my vote as “Federal Employee of the Month, if not the Year.”  Perhaps I can do the same for VanRoekel one year from now.


Only time will tell.




About the Author


Judy Redman has been writing about all areas of technology for more than 20 years.

Nadhan on ‎08-26-2011 12:58 PM

Judy -- VanRoekel is very likely to get your vote like Kundra did as long as the Federal Government does things right from an overall Transformation perspective.  To that end, the Cloud Transformation Bill of Rights might be worth a quick read.  As taxpaying stakeholders, we are all very interested in the Federal Government's strategy in this space. 

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