It is a common career pattern in the federal government. After a certain amount of time, high-level government executives make the transition from government to more lucrative careers in industry or academia.
The first Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, is the most recent government executive to make this transition; he will be leaving his post to be a joint fellow at the Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
In his two years in this position, Kundra played a major role in modernizing and cutting government IT costs, as well as advocated for a shift towards cloud-computing for government agencies. He also served as the administration’s voice for more transparency.
It cannot be denied that the administration’s efforts to consolidate IT and enhance optimization of networks and data centers has pushed the government IT agenda forward. Most notable has been Kundra’s 25-point implementation plan to improve government information technology and consolidate federal databases.
As a part of the plan, the federal government will be closing down 800 data centers by 2015, and moving to cloud servers. Data prioritization is something that we know well, and government agencies are clearly struggling to prioritize and optimize their networks.
We applaud Kundra’s efforts while with the Administration and urge a continuation of his plans.
In an era of government cost cutting, we believe that this laudable mission will carry on as government agencies will be tasked with doing more with less, while being more efficient and effective. In addition, government IT will continue to evolve as federal employees demand access to web applications that are driven by social media adoption.
Our bet is that the need for enhanced bandwidth, secure application delivery and the optimization of data flow will continue to be a priority for the federal government. The stakes are just too high and while Kundra’s departure may raise concerns about a step backwards in Federal IT security policy, the new era of fully optimized government IT is here to stay.