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Smith School's 10th Annual CIO Forum Features
Federal CIO Vivek Kundra
Chief information officers and business professionals from around the country
gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss the use of the Internet and how it affects
different businesses at the 10th Annual CIO Forum sponsored by the Robert H. Smith
School of Business. This was the first time the forum was held at the school’s Washington
campus. More than 200 people were in attendance.
After a welcome from Dean G. “Anand” Anandalingam, Vivek Kundra, the CIO for
the federal government, spoke to the audience about President Barack Obama’s agenda
and the challenges within the federal government itself when it comes to information
“We want to leverage to power of technology to fundamentally change the way the
public sector operates,” Kundra said. “What we’re seeing now in unprecedented numbers
is how many consumers are moving toward mobile computing. Especially if you look
at this phenomenon in the developing world, you can recognize what powers the growth
of technology and what powers the consumption of technology is actually led by cell
phones. And you’re creating these economies that have never existed before using
the cell phone itself to deliver services, to communicate, and to interact with
the public sector. “
Kundra also acknowledged the rising popularity and power in social sharing and
networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“The sheer number of users on Facebook, the sheer number of videos that are not
just being uploaded, but viewed on a daily basis [is astonishing],” Kundra said.
So is “the number of tweets, where now you are seeing the impact that Twitter has
on the geopolitical climate across the world. And, you are also looking at how we
are now able to move toward a market where information is far more liquid than it
ever has been in the history of civilization. What we are seeing is the distance
between individuals, the distance between countries is beginning to evaporate and
now information is moving literally at the speed of light.”
After he acknowledged the importance of these sites, Kundra expressed the need
for the government to be more transparent, especially when it comes to the Internet.
“If you look at what we are doing across the board when it comes to public sector,
we haven’t really leveraged the principles of transparency and open government and
participation in a way that allows us to really apply the Darwinian pressure of
consumers to help us innovate,” he said, adding that it is easier to compare the
pros, cons and costs of cars than it is to compare the same factors for things such
as health care.
After Kundra finished his presentation, guests heard from keynote speaker Dr.
Jamshed J. Irani, the chairman of the executive committee and the quality management
services and director of Tata Sons Ltd., the most prominent steel company in the
Irani spoke to the audience about business excellence, explaining the problems
Tata Steel had to go through before becoming No. 1, including layoffs of many employees.
When Tata Steel was forced to layoff 3,000 employees, he said he made sure each
employee received full benefits.
“They told me ‘You either have too little of a brain or too much money,’” Irani
said. He also said that in order to run an efficient company, transparency is key;
it was important to explain to his employees why things had to change and why jobs
had to be cut.
A CEO, he explained, must give a company time to grow, handle many tasks that
cannot be delegated and be the “champion of change.” CEOs must also reward both
success and failure, and only punish inaction.
“Those who sit on their backside deserve to be kicked in that position,” Irani
The last keynote speaker at the CIO Forum was Paul de Sa, the chief strategist
for the Federal Communications Commission. He spoke about having broadband access
across America and issues of Internet speed.
“Do we have a world where there is ubiquitous broadband in our world, or a world
of digital exclusion?” de Sa asked.
He explained the importance of everyone having access to broadband, and not just
those people who are fortunate enough to live in an area that is already broadband
“If you don’t have Internet, you don’t get the same benefits as everyone else,”
de Sa said, explaining that people without Internet access don’t have the same job,
education or health opportunities as those who do.
Sixty-three percent of those in the United States with Internet access have broadband
Internet, according to de Sa. Meanwhile, 33 percent of those with Internet access
don’t have broadband, but feasibly could. Four percent of those with Internet access
can’t have access to it at all, usually because of their geographical location.
De Sa spoke also talked about was turning off the old phone network. “We need
to ensure that no American is left stranded in the legacy world,” de Sa said. “We
cannot turn off the copper network yet because we can’t leave people stranded with
no means of communication.”
Other speakers included Jason Karas, president of Carbonrally; Bipin Patel, CIO
of Proquest; Premal Shah, president of Kiva; Larry Fitzpatrick, president of Computech,
Inc.; Douglas Abel, CIO of Anne Arrundel Health System; David Horrock, president
of CRISP; Cheryl B. Jones, director of outreach for CRISP; and, Sean Khozin, a founding
member, vice president of medical affairs and doctor for Hello Health.
Guests at the event had the opportunity to ask questions after each speaker presented
and were able to network throughout the day.
Jessica Bauer, Intern, Office of Marketing Communications