|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 Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Sep. 25, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,811
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,576
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,693
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 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 solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Sep. 25, 2016 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,485
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Sep. 25, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 915
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 25, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,596
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Sep. 25, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,237
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Sep. 25, 2016 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,557
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Sep. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,590
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Sep. 25, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,528
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
Sep. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,522
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Sep. 25, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 839
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,473
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,388
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,127
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,655
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,525
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,579
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,706
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 956