Obama Asks Private Sector for Help With Gov’t IT

The federal government is a slow ship to turn. Efforts to modernize government computing systems are hamstrung by a variety of institutional challenges, but President Obama says he’s trying. The White House convened a forum inviting the best and the brightest from the business community to share advice for transforming the government’s operations in the same way a CEO would try to effect a corporate turnaround. Datamation has the story.

President Obama and more than a dozen senior administration officials met with the CEOs and top executives from more than 50 companies this afternoon for a White House forum to probe reforms the government can implement to bring it more in step with the private sector.

The government officials and corporate chieftains billed the brainstorming exercise as a down payment on plans to fundamentally overhaul the federal IT apparatus to improve efficiency and better serve the public.

“It’s exciting to see the leaders of some of the most innovative, cutting-edge, tech-savvy companies in the world gathered in the city where I had to fight tooth and nail just to get a BlackBerry,” Obama said in an address at the beginning of the event. “There may be a little bit of a cultural clash here, but that’s exactly why we want you here.”

After campaigning on a platform of change and emphatic promises to change the way Washington works, Obama and his team explained the forum as similar to the process a dysfunctional corporation would undertake when seeking to effect a turnaround.

“Government must be modernized,” said Peter Orszag, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. “We’re committed to a new business model in government where technology and information systems enhance efficiency.”

Read the full story at Datamation:

Obama Looks to Close IT Gap With Private Sector

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