Obama seeks IT advice from tech execs
Private sector CEOs gather at White House to offer ideas for improving federal IT ops
Computerworld - Top executives of social networking firms, software companies, retailers, and even the head of restaurant reservation service gathered in the White House today to give the Obama administration ideas for improving outdated federal IT systems.
Among the more than 50-plus officials invited to attend the "Forum on Modernizing Government" were: Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft; Shantanu Narayen is president and chief executive officer of Adobe Systems Inc.; Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist; Sal Iannuzzi, the chairman and CEO of Monster.com; William McComb, the CEO of Liz Clairborne Inc.; John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts Inc.; Chris R. Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook; Jeffrey Jordan the CEO of, OpenTable Inc.; and Ronald Sargent, the CEO of Staples Inc.
President Barack Obama welcomed the CEOs with a quip, describing Washington as "the city where I had to fight tooth and nail just to get a Blackberry," a reference to the battle early in his administration to continue using a mobile device.
"There may be little bit of a cultural clash here," he said.
The "technology revolution that has transformed our society over the past two decades has yet to reach many parts of our government," said Obama, adding that the children of federal employees often have better than technology in their backpacks than federal workers have in their offices.
To illustrate his point, Obama described what he called an embarassing process used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for handling patent applications. Although more than 80% of patent applications are received electronically, the process calls for workers in the office to "manually print them out, scan them, and then enter them into an outdated case management system."
He said the outdated process is a key reason that it takes three years on average to process patent applications.
The U.S. is wasting billions of dollars in part because federal technology is out of date, said Obama. People should be able to use federal services with the same ease that consumers have booking restaurant tables on OpenTable or a flight on Southwest.com, he said.
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.
Jeffrey Zients, the White House chief performance officer, said that one of the biggest barriers faced by the federal government "is the significant technology gap that exists between the government and the private sector."
Vivek Kundra, who is the first federal CIO, said the White House has also raised the visibility of CIOs at federal agencies, who in prior administrations "were buried three or four layers below" the business units.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed .
Read more about Government IT in Computerworld's Government IT Topic Center.
- 18 Hot IT Certifications for 2014
- CIOs Opting for IT Contractors Over Hiring Full-Time Staff
- 12 Best Free iOS 7 Holiday Shopping Apps
- For CMOs Big Data Can Lead to Big Profits
- Slideshow: 5 ways to lock down your mobile device
- Slideshow: 10 mistakes companies make after a data breach
- How to rob a bank: A social engineering walk through
- Which smartphone is the most secure?
If you think getting it right from day one is always what matters, you probably haven't been following technology too closely.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Mitigating DDoS Attacks with F5 Technology
- This document examines various DDoS attack methods and the application of specific ADC technologies to block attacks in the DDoS threat spectrum while...
- The DDoS Threat Spectrum
- Bolstered by favorable economics, today's global botnets are using distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to target firewalls, web services, and applications, often simultaneously.
- Defending Against Denial of Service Attacks
- By utilizing end-user interviews, this whitepaper explores a deeper understanding of DDoS defense plans and reveals the knowledge gaps around the Denial of...
- Strategic Solutions for Government IT
- This paper outlines why F5 is the optimum partner to help achieve the levels of security, performance and availability that are vital to...
Top Considerations for Moving to a Cloud Delivery Model for ITSM
Find out whether SaaS-based ITSM is right for you
- Software-as-a-service is more than just a cloud-based delivery model-it's a new approach to service that lets companies optimize utilization of in-house IT resources... All Government IT White Papers
- Fighting Fraud Videos: IBM Intelligent Investigation Manager Short videos about IBM Intelligent Investigation Manager (IIM) for Fraud. IIM optimizes the investigation of fraud for customers across many industries in both...
- IBM Intelligent Investigation Manager: Online Product Demo Intelligent Investigation Manager optimizes fraud investigation and analysis and it dynamically coordinates and reports on cases, provides analysis and visualization, and enables more...
- Webinar: IBM IIM for Fraud, Abuse and Waste in Government View this IBM webinar to learn about the challenges and opportunities in fraud reduction, waste, and abuse in government programs and agencies. You...
- Pre-Engineered solutions from VCE Simplify Core Infrastructure Implementation In this video, the CTO of Purdue Pharma, a privately held pharmaceutical company explains how Purdue transformed their data center infrastructure with VCE.
- Integrated Infrastructure: Simplify Operations, Speed Deployments and Reduce Costs George Weiss, Gartner Vice President and Analyst, and Praveen Akkiraju, CEO of VCE, provide practical information regarding the various aspects of Integrated Infrastructures...
- All Government IT Webcasts
Does your organization offer extensive benefits, cool perks, competitive salaries, opportunities for training and advancement? Then get it recognized!
Nominate your company or another deserving organization for Computerworld's 2014 Best Places to Work in IT list now through Dec. 12, 2013.