November 06, 2008, 10:29 AM — Election results notwithstanding, we're still in for a hard time economically. It would have been the same had Sen. McCain won the election; the economic baggage of the Bush administration led us into a recession and it's too late for any new President to stop it. But from an IT industry perspective, one cannot help but be at least a little optimistic about the prospect of having a tech-savvy President.
One of the most interesting of President-elect Obama's ideas is to create the office of Chief Technology Officer for the United States, an idea whose time has come. There is already some speculation as to who will fill this role, with some people suggesting that Google CEO Eric Schmidt would be a good candidate. The creation of a federal CTO is by no means a done deal, but assuming President-elect Obama comes through with the promise, it will definitely set the tone for the coming years in terms of having a strong technological foundation for governmental operations. Of course, that means more IT contracts throughout all agencies, so VARs and integrators should definitely be looking at the Federal market for growth opportunities.
A CRN article goes a little further into the future of government tech policy, suggesting "Five reasons Obama's victory will boost tech sales". The article may be a bit over optimistic, and there are economic realities that have drawn down sales in all sectors, including tech, and these realities aren't going to change overnight. However, there are some good points in this piece. Besides the obvious arguments that Obama has a strong understanding of how to leverage technology to achieve his goals and is therefore likely to rely on it to transform how government does its job, the article also points out that "green IT" will become a higher priority--also giving a boost to the tech business both in the Federal and civilian marketplaces. The article also lists as one of the five reasons, "antiquated technology that doesn't work will be dumped." True enough, although this has been the direction the Federal government has already been going, and stereotypes of inefficiency notwithstanding, there have been a lot of impressive Federal tech initiatives. The final argument of course, is that Obama is the first "Internet-savvy" President, which will accomplish two things: First, it will set the tone for technology for the next four years, and second, it will make it more likely that technology will figure more highly in government initiatives.