Obama's CIO quits

Vivek Kundra sought to create a Web 2.0-type government with a heavy dose of cloud

The first person ever appointed as the CIO of the US government, Vivek Kundra, is resigning after two and a half years on the job, the White House said Thursday.

There was no hint in the announcement made by Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, that Kundra's exit was prompted by a shift in the White House's view on IT.

Lew, who praised the CIO's work, said Kundra was leaving to take a fellowship at Harvard.

Kundra was appointed CIO a few months after President Barack Obama took office. He immediately outlined an agenda that emphasized cloud adoption, use of consumer technologies, and making data available to the public on new sites, such as data.gov. He was critical of big IT contracts that moved too slowly and were at risk of failing.

But there may be questions over why Kundra is leaving six months after releasing a 25-point plan that crystalized a lot of his ideas. One of the major components of the plan was the consolidation of more than 2,100 data centers to 800 by 2015.

Ray Bjorklund, a senior vice president at FedSources, a market intelligence firm, gave Kundra "a lot of plaudits for really stirring things up," and said his actions were "very positive overall for the government."

Bjorklund also said wondered "whether [Kundra] got a little burned out trying to fight the good fight."

A good third of the items in his 25-point plan were due to be completed in the first six months, and they weren't, Bjorklund said. While there was progress, "I don't think anyone can declare success on any one of those right now," he said.

Kundra was the CTO of the District of Columbia prior to taking the job as federal CIO. It meant managing an $80 billion IT budget, working with CIOs of established agencies, some of which can operate semi-autonomously, as well as appearing before Congress.

The average CIO tenure, in the public and private sectors, is four years and four months, according to Gartner.

In picking a new CIO, Bjorklund said Obama will want a person who can think on the grand scale, while also recognizing the complexity of government. That may make a career federal CIO an appropriate candidate, he said.

Lew said Kundra "brought with him the promise of good ideas and a hard-charging style focused on getting things done, necessary qualities to tackle the difficult issues facing federal IT - an aging infrastructure with rising operating costs, too many major projects failing to deliver, and increasing vulnerability to outside threats. Two and a half years after joining the administration, Vivek has delivered on that promise."

Lew said Kundra will move to Harvard in mid-August to serve as a joint fellow at the Kennedy School and at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "We are planning for a smooth transition," said Lew.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Management and CareersGovernment use of ITIT industryIT in GovernmentWeb 2.0 and Web Appsgovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?