Liking Apps Dot Gov, Loving Kundra


by Tony Kontzer

United States CIO Vivek Kundra unveiled a key piece of the Feds' cloud computing strategy this week when he announced the opening of Apps.gov, an online marketplace for federal agencies looking for cloud applications. Clearly, the government taking such a bold step to encourage cloud adoption is big IT news, and members of the cloud provider community are going to fall all over themselves trying to get on the approved vendor list.

But before I go any further, rather than rely upon my journalistic skills to put this story in perspective for you, I'm seizing this opportunity to introduce something of my own--a new feature I'll call Twit Digest (coming up with a new Twitter-related name is no easy feat).

The way it works is simple: I distill some piece of IT-related news by surveying recent Twitter posts on the subject and relaying the most interesting perspectives offered by Twits (a term I greatly prefer to Tweeters). Why would anyone do this, you might ask? Because there are a lot of smart people Twittering away out there, and their perspectives are often just as valuable--dare I say MORE valuable--then some blowhard journalist's.

With that guiding principle in mind, I started with a Twitter search for "Apps.gov" to see what folks were saying about the new marketplace. Here's what I found:

-The earliest posts that caught my eye were back-to-back thoughts posted at about 8:30 pm EDT Tuesday by a Twit named ScottHorvath. "The new Apps.gov is a great first step in the right direction. I'm VERy happy though that Agency heads are notified of a request," he wrote. "Otherwise it would be the Wild West with people signing up for social media sites, apps, under an Agency's name w/o the Agency knowing." That is a man who knows his cloud computing adoption trends.

-It didn't take long for people to begin finding fault, though. At about 11:30 pm EDT, a Twit calling himself danielkennedy74 shared this apt observation: "Ha ha, went to apps.gov, clicked business applications, clicked icon security: message back is no products found for security." Frankly, that seems pretty embarrassing given the kinds of data federal agencies are holding and the perceived security shortcomings of today's cloud offerings.

-A few minutes later, govfresh noted, "Apps.gov cool but coded all in HTML taples? Come on GSA."

-But just as anyone who works with kids will tell you, always try to sandwich the negatives between positives. So here's a positive, from derikp: "Is this the governments answer to iTunes or the AppStore? Apps.gov looks pretty well baked." That is, lack of security applications notwithstanding.

Having gotten the gist of what people were thinking about Apps.gov, I thought I'd do a quick check of the national temperature as it relates to Kundra himself. Put it this way: His approval rating appears to be off the charts. The Twits speak for themselves:

-At about 10 pm EDT Tuesday night, a Twit named tinjaw acknowledged Kundra's fast-growing influence: "Dusting off years worth of rejected proposals and replacing the line 'I think we should do this' with 'Vivek Kundra says we must do this.'"

-An hour later, a post from curetonl, who apparently was on hand to hear Kundra speak about Apps.gov and the federal cloud strategy during a dinner event at Nasa Ames Research Center, shared this: "at SFO catchin redeye back. Outlook 4 cloud computing is bright. Good talk from fed cio vivek kundra. Feds ROCK!" Now there's something you don't hear every day.

-Finally, at about 2 am EDT, a Twit with some clout chimed in. Carl Gaurdino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (an economic development organization that tries to bring business and government together to address economic challenges) who's known on Twitter as CarlGuardino, also saw Kundra speak, and was obviously as impressed as everyone else. "CEO Dinner this evening hosted at Wyse with President Obama's Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra & 48 top executives. He was fantastic."

So there you go. The verdict? Vivek Kundra has accumulated lots of fans, and Apps.gov seems poised to do the same, provided it can fill out all the areas of functionality it needs to address. Oh yeah, and I really like the term "Twit."

Until next time, I'll hope to see you on my own Twitter feed.