That there is a lag between technological advances and government adoption is old news. What is different now is that Obama is willing to listen and to make changes, inspiring hope that there will be significant strides in IT for government (full article here). According to the article:
“Modernizing the federal IT infrastructure and learning from the best practices used in the private sector has been a common refrain of prior administrations, but this time federal officials say it will be different -- the problem is getting the direct attention of the president. And, they add, government IT projects are becoming more visible to the public via efforts like the federal IT dashboard that tracks projects.”
The short list of those included in a meeting at the White House to help Obama with ideas for how to update federal IT systems include:
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft
Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer of Adobe Systems Inc.
Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist
Chris R. Hughes, co-founder of Facebook
Ronald Sargent, CEO of Staples Inc.
Having Vivek Kundra as the first federal CIO also sends a strong message that this administration is serious about closing the technology gap between the public and private sectors. Obama’s image of the children of federal employees having better technology in their backpacks than their parents have at work is a striking one, underlining the urgent need implementation of updated technology for federal offices.
Will Obama follow through? Will the next few years bring substantive changes in the world of federal IT?