Mar 24, 2008

Lost White House E-mails: It's not Notes' fault, really.

Ed Brill decided to call my (well some Californians) Congressman Darrell Issa about his testimony regarding missing White House e-mail. At the top of Ed's list was his concern about some disparaging remarks the Congressman made about Lotus Notes.

I ended up on the phone with Congressman Darrell Issa, who could not have been nicer or more understanding of what issues were raised by his comments. I have received a letter from the Congressman, which I hope to publish in the next week or so. The hearing testimony will also receive an amendment clarifying the intent of the commentary about Lotus Notes.

Bravo Ed! Seriously, I respect your boldness (or as some say in SoCal cojones) to address Congressman Issa's comments directly. I'm pleased to hear that he was receptive and willing to make the record straight.

Ed's blog posting includes some interesting commentary, and putting in my $.02, I'd like to tell anyone who's interested in this saga should read David Gewirtz's book Where Have all the E-mails Gone? (I've blogged on it too).

Red tape, low wage workers, and budget limits aside, there are also plenty of high paid consultants behind the push for technology at all levels of government. The decision to move from Notes to Outlook could have been based on the technological soundness, records management capabilities, and depth of security of the e-mail system, but it was more likely based on the same arguments that many enterprises face. Things like end-user preferences, cost, support capabilities (often outsourced), and prevailing IT politics. All play a big part in deciding which technology to use.

Quite frankly, I really don't want the presidential administration to pick out the e-mail system for the White House. I'd rather have the administration worry about the country (You know, be a government). What I do expect is that the administration follow policy as our government has deemed is appropriate. In his book, Mr. Gewirtz makes a strong argument for taking the e-mail and IT choices out of the hands of the administration. That running the White House information systems should be treated as a separable, non-partisan IT department that can handle all the technical stuff to keep White House messages (and information) secure, compliant with the law, and safe for future use. Hmmm, isn't this the same stuff most enterprises are dealing with today? Maybe there's a few competent people out there after all.

Ed Brill

1 comment:

Ed said...

Hi Karen,

I thought I commented last night, doesn't look like it made it.

It wasn't easy to dial the Congressman's office, but the IBM government relations team really gets the kudos for making that call happen. Props to them and to the Congressman for understanding why this was an important conversation.