Obama's CIO Pick Brings New Meaning to Term "Federal Googlement"
Vivek Kundra, chief technology officer for the District of Columbia, made headlines last year when he switched the District’s 38,000 employees from Microsoft Office to Google’s Web-based office suite. He may soon do the same to the White House as well, now that he’s been tapped as the nation’s first chief information officer.
Kundra, who has served as a technology policy adviser for President Obama, will oversee federal technology spending, among other things. “Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position,” Obama said in a statement. “I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As Chief Information Officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible.”
If stories about Kundra’s enthusiasm for Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) products are any indication, we can expect to see some big changes in the way federal technology spending is handled. “One of the biggest problems in government is that process has trumped outcome,” Kundra once said. “As everyone is focused on compliance, no one is thinking about innovation.”