I have been willing to post about this since when I knew, but wanted to wait for the official news. My (now former) colleague and friend Dave McClure, who has been managing and research VP in the Gartner government research team, is starting his new job at the General Services Administration, as Associate Administrator for Citizen Services and Communications, reporting directly to the head of GSA. His main responsibilities will include running the organization in charge of evolving the US federal government’s main portal (www.usa.gov) and citizen contact center, but I would not be surprised if he had also something to do with Recovery.gov , with the federal cloud computing strategy and – more in general – with the theme of technology innovation.
It looks like Dave will have his hands full and it is quite possible that priorities will vary soon, given the pace at which the Obama administration is exploring the crucial role of technology in many areas.
Dave spent four and a half great years at Gartner, where he covered primarily IT strategic planning and governance, performance management, portfolio management and BI, plus a variety of other topics, ranging from sourcing to ERP implementation, from cost optimization to cloud computing. He is a seasoned professional, with a wealth of government experience (he was for many years at GAO before joining Gartner), great analytical acumen and management skills, a rare blend of characteristics that make him a perfect fit for this challenging role.
He makes a strong addition to Obama’s dream team of technology savvy executives, as he brings in deep and long experience and the ability to both champion change and understand the intricacies of government accountability and procedures, therefore bridging the bold attitude of US Federal CIO and CTO and the machinery of government. He is both very smart and down to Earth, a key feature for the challenges at hand.
We have been working together throughout his tenure at Gartner, and his insights, thoughtful peer review, willingness to always go the extra mile to help colleagues will be sorely missed. But I guess that, in the big scheme of things, we all have to be happy for his appointment, since the outcomes of what he might be able to accomplish will help us all. He was also my manager for about a year, and that was the year when I got the highest company-wide recognitions of my entire career: this says a lot, as a key characteristic of a good manager is to make his reports shine. And he did this while coaching other analysts, helping sales throughout the US and worldwide and taking loads of inquiries where he advised clients on their strategic plans, product choices, governance arrangements, and so forth.
I wish him all the best. I am sure he is aware of the challenges ahead of him, given the magnitude of his task. One in particular, which I mentioned to him before he left and wrote about in a few posts already, is how roles and responsibilities for government IT get distributed and (re)balanced. He wrote a great note highlighting the relations between CTO and CIO (Gartner subscription required) before Aneesh Chopra was appointed as the US Federal CTO, but neither of us was really sure about the exact boundaries between Aneesh’ and Vivek Kundra’s roles. In various interviews, both of them said they work as a team (together with the Chief Performance Officer), but it is quite clear that there are overlapping areas that will need to be resolved pretty soon. Looking at Dave’s current job description, he will have to join that team, carve his space and – I am sure – add great value.
For all those who think that the choice of a tech star in Washington was either a seasoned executive with long and deep government experience or a smart digital native, here you may have the perfect compromise.
Good luck, Dave!