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This syndicated post originally appeared at Yankee Group Blog » Zeus Kerravala.

Last week the White House announced that Vivek Kundra, the first ever federal government CIO, will leave his position in August.  Prior to Kundra, federal IT was considered about as aggressive as Lebron James in the NBA finals.  When Kundra took over that post in 2009, he became best known for his “cloud first” policy for all federal agencies, which resulted in a plan to shut down over 800 federal data centers.

However, it’s worth noting that he modernized the federal government in many other ways.  One of Kundra’s initiatives was to modernize the government through consumer technologies like iPads and Google mail.  At Yankee Group, the consumerization of IT is one of our primary research areas and Kundra’s ability to consumerize the government is taking that to the extreme.

So where does the government go from here?  Whoever is named the successor to Kundra cannot take their foot off the gas.  For the first time ever, the US government has the opportunity to show the world “what’s possible” when it comes to technology.  There will be some challenges to come for Federal IT between CIOs but that doesn’t mean the brakes will be put on.  Life goes on and so should the modernization of the Federal government.

Whoever replaces Vivek Kundra needs to have the same passion for change and technological advancement that he did.  In my opinion, cloud needs to be one of the primary initiatives to the continued advancement of Federal IT.  One piece of advice to the incoming CIO though is to leverage vendors that are willing to partner with them to make a smooth transition to the next stage of IT, particularly in the area of cloud and networking which is the foundation of the consumerized enterprise.

Post Kundra’s departure, I had a chance to speak with Stephen Wallo, a Federal Systems Engineer for Brocade who has a significant presence in providing networking solutions in the Federal sector.   We discussed how Brocade could act as a partner to the new, incoming CIO and these were his comments:

“The migration to cloud computing is not going to slow down, but there are some obstacles. One such obstacle is that enterprises and government agencies are unsure where to begin and how to simplify the migration.  I feel that one of the best ways to assist in the migration of IT services to the cloud and to tap the unlimited market potential of cloud computing is to educate the IT community on this new architectural approach.  The greatest opportunity to each of us lies is creating education programs that enhances the skill set of the IT community.” – Stephen Wallo, Federal Systems Engineer.

In addition to Brocade companies like Riverbed, F5 and VMWare.  They key for the new CIO is to pick the right partners and move forward with them.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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