Cloud Computing: 10 Questions For Federal CIO Vivek Kundra

Kundra discuss his thoughts about cloud computing in government, and what it would take to make cloud technologies easier to adopt in the federal space.
InformationWeek: Does GSA in some ways need to transform itself to a shared services organization, and will GSA then be managing data centers under that plan?

Kundra: That's part of that equation, and I'm looking forward to working with the new administrator to look at what GSA needs to do.

InformationWeek: Do you agree with criticism that all of IT in government has to be procured just as if the government was buying an aircraft carrier, and that's not the way we should be doing IT?

Kundra: If you look at the processes, if it takes 18 months to 2 years to go through procurement, you've already missed one revolution, one cycle. If we can abstract the procurement processes, security, architecture, provisioning and they're more focused on leveraging the service that's being provided rather than rolling out technology initiatives, that's where we want to move the federal government toward, and this is going to take time. It's going to take major changes when it comes to public policy and procurement and so forth.

InformationWeek: How long do you see this taking? Do you see this as a three to five year thing to get these processes down right, and are you running into resistance?

Kundra: My first month when I was looking for people to lead these transformational efforts, cloud computing had the most people in terms of the working group. CIOs would like nothing more than to be able to provision technology. Their view is that if we can take care of provisioning, they can provide services rapidly to their customers. The challenges we're going to face are around security, privacy, contracting and there are many other challenges as we move forward. We're working very closely with the procurement community, the privacy community and security community. It will take time, but we're going to begin by rolling out a set of services in the coming months and scale from there.

InformationWeek: When you say a set of services what would you start with?

Kundra: That's forthcoming. The idea there is to start thinking of government as a platform.

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