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Kishan Ananthram, CEO of IonIdea, a consulting company based in Fairfax, Va., said Kundra may have experienced roadblocks in his bid to transform government with modern technology like cloud computing. "The problem is you don't know what politics were going on internally," he said. "He (Kundra) may have had good things he wanted to do and he was frustrated. You don't know what was in his way."
"It is disappointing," Ananthram added. "Government takes on these big initiatives and then the leadership changes in the middle of it. Hopefully somebody else will step into his shoes and continue the good work that Vivek was doing."
David Ansell, business development manager for Capitol Hill PCInc, a Washington DC public sector solution provider, said he was surprised by Kundra's departure. "Obama put quite a lot of emphasis on him and what he was doing," said Ansell. "Hopefully whoever he picks next will continue the work he started."
Ansell said he sees the cloud computing drumbeat within the federal government continuing even with Kundra's departure. That said, he stressed: "We really need some continuity. Right now we are so unstable with everything across the board. In our industry we need to have a settling period."
Rishi Sood, vice president, government for Gartner, a Stamford, Conn. market research firm that advises CIOs on technology decisions, said Kundra's departure is simply a "reality" of the federal information technology marketplace.
"There are IT leaders that need to raise visibility to a given technology issue," said Sood, who addressed public sector solution providers at the Everything Channel event. "You can't just depend on that singular leader to make sure there are wholesale changes across all federal government. There has to be that pent up or mitigating factor that drives the change within the agencies. And with respect to federal government it is not leadership in a lot of respects, it is the budget hammer that is going to drive change."
Kundra has done a "great job" raising visibility in new technology models, said Sood. "It is disappointing that there is going to be a vacum in leadership if it occurs," said Sood. "But that is not emblematic of what needs to happen across all of federal government. The change has to happen within the agencies directly."