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Yes, governments are well-known for unwieldy bureaucracies, carrying out processes with ten people that can be just as easily done with one or two, and for engaging an entire committee to figure out something that a high school student could probably take care of in an afternoon. But sometimes they do get it right.

Bloated IT infrastructures in government are already being streamlined by cloud computing options, especially in the US, where the country’s CIO Vivek Kundra is taking the lead. While Kundra was the technology chief in the District of Columbia, prior to his appointment by President Obama, he saved the district millions of dollars with a few common-sense cloud implementations. He killed a project to create  multi-million dollar intranet for the district. What did he put in its place? Google Apps.

This was a case of a solution staring you right in the face. The district’s training information is now on videos on Google Apps, procurement information is available there, and a vast amount of public information has been shifted to the Google platform. And not satisfied with that, he also implemented the “Apps for Democracy” program, which has already generated tremendous cost savings. The program is a contest, which allows users to create applications that make use of data that is already available from the district’s web site.

Kundra is a big proponent for cloud computing, and said, “The cloud will do for government what the Internet did in the ’90s. . . . it’s a fundamental change ot the way our government operates by moving to the cloud. Rather than owning the infrastructure, we can save millions.”