Obama Fills Federal CIO Slot with Microsoft Cloud Veteran
President Barack Obama has officially announced his intention to appoint Microsoft veteran Steven L. VanRoekel as Federal Chief Information Officer and Administrator. And while the jury’s still out on whether he’ll continue to promote cloud services as his predecessor Vivek Kundra did, signs fortunately are looking good for public sector cloud service providers. Here are some channel perspectives.
VanRoekel’s most recent relevant experience was as senior director for the Windows Server and Tools Business until 2009. As many TalkinCloud readers no doubt know, STB is where many of Microsoft’s cloud initiatives, including Windows Azure, made their home. After leaving Microsoft, he became managing director of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he oversaw all “operational, technical, financial and human resource aspects of the agency,” according to the White House press release.
Former Federal CIO Kundra, who left in mid-June 2011 to accept a new job with Harvard University, was the first ever to hold the title. And he was the cloud service provider’s best friend in the U.S. government, enacting the “Cloud First” policy, which stated that as a cost-saving and efficiency-boosting measure, Federal agencies had to audit cloud solutions before going to a legacy application. And he brought in cloud leaders to advise on the transition.
Overall, “Cloud First” seems to have been a success: The U.S. Department of Agriculture moved to Microsoft BPOS in one notable win. And the growing demand for cloud solutions in the public sector that “Cloud First” portended has led to a major PR battle between Microsoft and Google.
And now the big question is whether or not VanRoekel will continue to keep that momentum going, in both word and deed. “Cloud First” was an important stepping stone. But cloud service providers should be watching closely to see what he actually does in the new position. That said, given the breadth of his experience, and the savings already seen in black and white, I have no doubts that the cloud will continue to hang over Washington.
Keep watching TalkinCloud for updates on VanRoekel as he settles into his new role.