|By Kevin Jackson||
|March 8, 2009 12:00 AM EST||
(The following interview was conducted by Mr. Bob Gourley and was originaly posted on CTOvision.com on February 3,2009. I thank him for providing his permission to repost this timely article on Government Cloud Computing.)
Every CTO I know has heard of Vivek Kundra, former CTO of the District of Columbia. We have all been following his accomplishments in transforming the technology program in DC and have watched in excitement as more and more capabilities have been rolled out to serve the city and its citizens. We have followed reports of bold moves he put in place to ensure technology programs deliver. We have read about his new approaches to technology portfolio management and watched as he discussed the leap ahead he delivered to his enterprise by his audacious, courageous use of Google Apps and other cloud-based solutions.
If you are not one of those familiar with Vivek, here is a short bio: Vivek Kundra was the CTO for the District of Columbia where he led an organization of over 600 staff that provided technology services and leadership for 86 agencies, 38,000 employees, residents, businesses, and 14 million annual visitors. He brought to the role of CTO a diverse record that combined technology and public policy experience in government, private industry, and academia. Previously, Vivek served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first dual cabinet role in the state's history. In the private sector, Vivek led technology companies serving national and international customers. Earlier he served as Director of Infrastructure Technology for Arlington, Virginia. He also taught classes on emerging and disruptive technologies at the University of Maryland. Since Vivek became District CTO, he has been honored with major IT awards. In 2008, the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium recognized him among outstanding IT innovators. In addition, InfoWorld Magazine named Vivek among its "CTO 25".
I recently saw Vivek at a meeting of the Washington Area CTO Roundtable, an informal collective of area CTOs led by Yuvi Kochar, CTO of the Washington Post Company. Before the meeting we chatted about mashup technologies (including his Apps for Democracy contest and also JackBe). During the meeting Vivek discussed several aspects of his innovative efforts to transform the District's information technology infrastructure. A point that struck me was his leadership through principles. Three key ones he articulated were: 1) Leveraging commercial technology, 2) Driving transparency, and 3) Rethinking notions of IT governance.
Vivek and I just finished a phone call where we discussed these and other items in more detail. Here is a bit more on his approach.
1) Leveraging commercial technology: Commercial radios and cell phones allowed a rapid enhancement of the tactical communications infrastructure of the DC workforce, including the police workforce. Police squad cars are also now equipped with commercial, but toughened, laptops. Commercial web technology has been leveraged in ways that leaped ahead of old clunky office automation and also enable rapid development and mashups.
2) Driving transparency and engaging citizens: Technology impediments to information access and information sharing were eliminated in ways that enable citizens to see how government decisions are being made. Data was also exposed in ways that enabled mashups and agile programing/development. Examples include DCs digital public squareand Apps for Democracy efforts.
3) Rethinking notions of IT governance: Totally new, innovative ways to manage IT portfolios were created and used to ensure all stakeholders could evaluate the technology program and better make informed decisions on when to terminate programs and where to invest more money. Chief among these innovations was an approach to portfolio management that replicates a stock market trading floor. More important, however is the relentless focus on performance and innovation to support performance. Beside rethinking these notions of governance Vivek also took measures to smartly watch/reduce/reprioritize IT costs.
I asked Vivek for thoughts that might be relevant to technologists who have set their sites on careers where they can deliver results. Many of us would like to follow in his footsteps. I wondered, if there is a particular computer programing language we should all be learning now? Should we be diving into Python? That's hot now. And what about databases? MySQL and Hadoop are all the rage. The thoughts I got back from Vivek were incredibly insightful and far more relevant than the simplistic question I asked.
V: Technology is important, and we do need to know technology. But in these very exciting times where Moore's law pushes us all forward it is actually more important to be able to quickly learn new technology rather than focus on one and only one. This is the beauty of the new world of technology. There is always something to learn. We should also always remember that the reason to learn is the mission. To an enterprise CTO, technology by itself is worthless. Technology only has value if it addresses business problems and drives business success. Therefore technologists must have an ability to translate between the worlds of mission needs and technology and need an ability to rapidly learn and deeply understand both.
I asked Vivek for his intention for sharing his models and methods, since they have clearly delivered success in DC. He is doing quite a bit there so all of us who would like more info have plenty of ways to learn more:
V: The DC CTO site at http://octo.dc.gov provides links to many of the ongoing activities of the office and for those who would like more on the models that produce the results we link to policies, guidelines and procedures. We also provide information on how our governance process works. But additionally we host visits to our office by interested parties and have begun blogging about them. In another effort we hope will help move the models forward we are pressing ahead with plans to turn our stock market approach to portfolio management into an open model and will open source the code that makes it work, which should help drive more innovation there.
Speaking of innovation, Vivek seems to have found a way to accelerate innovation, which is something all CTOs are interested in doing. I asked him for his thoughts on where to look for innovation. Another interesting reply:
V: You can look for innovation many places, but remembering that necessity is the mother of invention you should keep an eye open for places that innovate because they really need to. I always keep an eye on the developing world and am so incredibly amazed at the tech innovation there. Enterprise IT does not mean that every program and project must be delivered with huge budgets and huge staffs and the incredible innovations coming out of the developing world prove that time and time again. I'm excited and enthused about developments like cell phone voting in Estonia, electronic census that works in Chili, fishing villages around the world using instant direct data to plan movement. Innovation occurs many places, but some of the greatest lessons for innovation are coming from the developing world.
I asked Vivek about how to find balance between setting standards and enabling innovation:
V: Standards are important, but if a standard gets in the way of innovation kill it. Use standards that enable innovation. This is the role of the CTO.
Vivek also offered thoughts on social networks.
V: In seeking ways to make your cycles of innovation move faster, never underestimate the power of social networking tools and the networks you can build with them. Facebook is the example most talked about but there are many others including networks built around ecommerce like eBay and Amazon. I believe we should not only embrace them to enable the power of social networking but to help us leverage, in a large way, the IT infrastructure of these platforms. The new generations today are making maximum use of these platforms and I view this as a very optimistic point.
As for me, I view the results of Vivek Kundra and his models as optimistic points. The great thing about being a CTO is the learning never stops in this field and Vivek is a great teacher we should all be learning from.
For more on Vivek and the way hew views technology, including some of his inputs to the Obama adminstration, see: http://www.ctovision.com/2009/01/federal-government-technology-directions-and-the-fed-cto.html
( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - KLJ )
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 9, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 177
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 9, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 142
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Feb. 9, 2016 11:45 AM EST Reads: 185
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 9, 2016 11:45 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Feb. 9, 2016 11:45 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 9, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 398
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 9, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 159
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 9, 2016 08:45 AM EST Reads: 424
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 9, 2016 08:00 AM EST Reads: 360
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Feb. 9, 2016 07:45 AM EST
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Feb. 9, 2016 07:15 AM EST Reads: 217
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 9, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 169
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 8, 2016 03:00 PM EST Reads: 583
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 8, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 387
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 8, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 367
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 743
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 802
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 867
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 957
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 742