Vivek Kundra was America’s first Chief Information Officer assigned by President Obama to help the White House look forward and integrate new technologies for government. He reviewed government agencies and saved billions of dollars for the government and now he is taking all that knowledge to work globally at Salesforce. Here is what the New York Times Quentin Hardy wrote:
Salesforce.com, best know for its sales, customer service and collaboration software for business, is raising its ambitions by aiming at the international businesses and sales to foreign governments that have been the mainstays of companies like I.B.M.
On Monday, the company named Vivek Kundra its executive vice president of emerging markets. Mr. Kundra was the country’s first chief information officer from March 2009 until August 2011. His job was to move the government’s computer infrastructure spending — $80 billion a year — toward cloud computing. Mr. Kundra has extensive experience in technology at several levels of government, and has been a frequent visitor to the technology industry’s conferences.
Mr. Kundra said in an interview that his work would consist of showing “how Salesforce can close the technology gap” between traditional business and the faster-moving industry typified by consumer applications like Facebook andTwitter. Governments, and many overseas businesses, he said, “are still focused on the old model.”
At present, nearly 68 percent of Salesforce’s revenue is from the United States and Canada. Another 18 percent is from Europe and the remaining 14 percent is from the Asia-Pacific region. Africa and the Middle East are not broken out as separate regions. I.B.M., by comparison, has selected Africa as one of its top growth markets.
Though his title indicates he will oversee development and sales in places Salesforce barely reaches, Mr. Kundra indicated he would use his experience and connections to reach out to governments everywhere.
“The developed nations are all facing challenges in terms of their financial health,” Mr. Kundra said. “They can look at their operating expenses and see Salesforce as a disruptor.” He said that Salesforce would present itself to developing nations as a provider of “new services,” like health care delivered over mobile networks. The overall strategy will be developed over the next few months, he said.
The main benefit of Mr. Kundra’s experience may be in cost savings, as well as project implementation. “When I was in the public sector, $26 billion of that $80 billion was in projects years behind schedule or not working,” Mr. Kundra said. “The cloud can save money. I’ve seen it first hand, whether in D.C. or in the federal government.”
Given his relatively short tenure in the federal government, the cost savings produced during his time there was not clear. Mr. Kundra has also worked in similar jobs for the State of Virginia and the District of Columbia, where the installation ofGoogle Apps, instead of traditional office productivity software, was said to have saved about 87 percent.
Mr. Kundra has also been an outspoken advocate of sharing government data with the public as a means of creating low-cost information and business software applications.