I recently pointed out that there has been a number of high-profile government IT executives holding whole-of-government positions who have moved out of government. One of them was Vivek Kundra, the former US Federal CIO, who accepted a position at Harvard, while others moved to vendors who are quite active in the cloud enablement or provision market (such as VMWare and Cisco). Now also Vivek has moved to a cloud vendor, i.e. salesforce.com, as executive VP of emerging markets.
The move of IT executives across industry sectors and from IT providers to IT users is a sign of healthy job market dynamics. In all these cases, though, one remains with the fundamental question about what this gifted individuals would have accomplished, had they stayed in their position a bit longer than the high-level strategy definition phase. A cynical reading is that their move came after they crated an interest and a high-level framework for cloud adoption but before being involved in any actual vendor selection process, which could have made any such move more difficult or certainly target of criticism.
I hope they will convey to their new employers a clearer view of what public sector customers need and expect. Saleforce.com is quite an interesting case, as they have not launched any “government cloud”, unlike many other large players like Google, Microsoft, IBM and – more recently – Amazon. This has not made them any less successful in terms of government references so far, so it will be interesting to watch whether Vivek will be salesforce’s evangelist for the use of public cloud in government, or will be the government’s evangelist inside salesforce to make them change attitude toward a government cloud.
Personally, I’d like the former over the latter, as I believe that the full value of cloud computing can be realized only on a public cloud scale.
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