Technology, Cloud

What does Kundra's departure mean to federal IT and cloud computing?

Blog-post by,
HP Blogger

Earlier in this forum I wrote about Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and his ‘Cloud First’ program.  Not only did I tip my hat to Kundra but I gave him my vote as U.S. Federal Employee of the Year for his strong leadership in advocating technologies that he felt would not only modernize the nation’s IT but also save taxpayer dollars and improve the services that our government provides to us. 

Now I read that Kundra plans to leave his office in August for a post at Harvard University after 2.5 years as the first Federal CIO. Kundra’s vision was strong and his initiatives appeared to be moving federal IT forward.  Will his departure mean a slowdown of his vision, or will the work and the philosophy he championed so well continue under his successor (whoever that may be)?  Will we continue to see federal government IT that is committed to working ” harder, smarter, and faster for American people,” as Kundra envisioned?

The reviews from the pundits and fellow CIOs are mixed.  Some believe that his departure means that his programs will stall. Others believe he has opened the eyes of the federal decision-makers who will continue his aggressive push for cloud computing, data center consolidation, and continued IT reform.  Still others believe Kundra was good at making a name for himself, but not committed enough personally to see his vision through to conclusion.  How do you see it? 

I hope his replacement will embrace Kundra’s strategy for continued aggressive IT transformation for the federal government.  Why?  Because with the burgeoning federal deficit, our nation needs better technology results for our taxpayer dollars.   And this should be a priority regardless of who holds the title of Federal CIO. 

(2) (2)

Would you like to comment on this content? Log in or Register.
hyuga akira 0 Points | Sun, 10/30/2011 - 06:38
Comment has been flagged as Inappropriate.
Judy Redman
Judy Redman 55 Points | Wed, 08/03/2011 - 22:52

According to a new article in Data Center Knowledge, two-thirds of federal agencies have identified applications to move to the cloud, and half of those have started the migration process to cloud computing.  It will be interesting to  see if continued progress toward cloud adoption continues after Kundra’s departure.

More details at:

John Dodge 1535 Points | Thu, 08/04/2011 - 12:31

That's the good news. The bad news in the article is the concern expressed by those interviewed whether the money and support for Cloud First will be there given Kundra's departure. Methinks he did not see his grand through and he bears the responsibility for that. Hopefully, his successor will embrace it.  

Jerry Bishop 100 Points | Thu, 07/14/2011 - 01:10

Being the pragmatic that I am I think his departure will have little effect just as hi sarrival did (or didn't?). I have watched Vivek in the various outlets he uses at his disposal and have not yet seen much in the way of forward progress.

That doesn't mean I am not a fan of his thinking and the simplicity of his federal IT strategy. It just means he is not in a position to do much given the federated model of government IT and the dependancy on the political process. Case in point, just as Vivek announce his dashboard code was available for download, Congress put its funding up for budget cuts.

Judy Redman
Judy Redman 55 Points | Thu, 07/14/2011 - 15:59

Yes, it is the very federated model that has led to "horrible" federal IT, don't you think.? Not an easy model to work in,  And as you point out, add in the political nature of it all and you have a very difficult environment.  Look at the gridlock on the whole budget and debt ceiling debate giong on now.  Maybe the frustration was too much for Vivek.   But I am grateful that Vivek raised the hard questions and offered some answers through his CloudFirst strategy. 

John Dodge 1535 Points | Thu, 07/14/2011 - 17:54

I searched for a story that explored why he left anmd there was very little out...not even speculation. But the best story I found was at eWeek (my alma mater aka PC Week) which suspected Kundra was enormously frustrated because he could only evangelize and not mandate.

Michael Procopio 19 Points | Mon, 07/11/2011 - 02:08

I read recently of the possibility of drastically reducing the IT budget for the Fed. This would cripple the cloud program he started.  I wonder he's leaving because he knows something we don't yet?

Judy Redman
Judy Redman 55 Points | Mon, 07/11/2011 - 14:43

Michael, thank  you for your comment.  Yes, I also have read that several of Kundra’s programs would likely be subject to budget cuts, although an estimated $18.8 billion per year would be saved just by consolidating some of the Fed’s data centers as he advocates.  And according to some reports, Kundra’s short tenure brought about $3B in savings already from his Cloud First and data consolidation program.s   As I write this, U.S. law makers are fighting over budget cuts and the debt ceiling.  I firmly believe that an investment in modernizing federal IT will make government more efficient and less costly in the long run.     ~JR

John Dodge 1535 Points | Fri, 07/15/2011 - 12:12

Hi Judy, We has a good federated v. central discussion prompted by Marsh USA CIO Jim Lee's Quick Post...and federated in private enterprise seemed preferred....but I can see where federated in the government has serious downsides. Check out the Quick Post.....

Judy Redman
Judy Redman 55 Points | Fri, 07/15/2011 - 15:18

Thanks for pointing out this related discussion.  Very interesting....


John Dodge 1535 Points | Tue, 07/12/2011 - 13:43

For better or worse, everything is on the table right now with respect to the Feds. It's too bad that Kundra did not stay longer and make a biger dent in the Federal IT problem. After all, it was he who agreed with President Obama that Federal IT is horrible.