For years I led a team from Apple that sold computers to the federal government. I left Apple in 2004. The few years before that were very challenging when dealing with the government and computers.
Many of the IT people we had to deal with had gone from being talented IT professionals to political appointees who knew little about their jobs.
Some organizations like the Navy decided that private contractors knew more about computers than the Navy did. They outsourced their computer decision making. I can still remember some Navy folks saying that they ended up with the green metal desk version of computers.
We had lots of experience with NASA where extensive use of contractors for supplying computers resulted in scientists usually getting far from the best computers. The only Macs that they often got were ones which were being discounted because new models were about to be introduced.
I am hoping that the change in government also means a change in technology policy. I read today about some of President Obama’s staff feeling like they had dropped into a computer time warp.
From experience I know that computer security is a challenge, but I also know some of the security that is implemented is false security. Many security threats come from within, and I have always believed that the excuse of security is a poor reason for implementing bad technology choices.
If we are to succeed with the many challenges that we face, technology has got to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
I remain convinced that intelligently implemented new technologies can have a huge impact on the efficiency of our government.
I am looking forward to seeing if the new government makes some progress in this area.