Outgoing IAC Chairman Puvvada reviews his tenure

PV’s self-assessment

Venkatapathi Puvvada believes the Industry Advisory Council has accomplished significant goals during his tenure as chairman. Among them:


  • The shared interest groups produced white papers on topics that include service-driven architecture, improving Federal Information Security Management Act effectiveness by using a security content automation program, and collaboration between chief information officers and chief financial officers.
  • IAC created the Congressional Education Working Group and produced a seminar on the Federal Desktop Core Configuration initiative for Congress.
  • IAC held its second annual Technology Leadership Conference in San Diego for government and industry leaders based in southern California.
  • The 17th annual Executive Leadership Conference drew more than 800 industry and government executives. The 28th annual Management of Change conference attracted 400.
  • IAC launched a transition study group to develop recommendations for the next president.
  • The council established an Ethics Working Group, which presents an “Ethics Minute” each IAC membership meeting.
  • The organization has begun to explore the use of Web 2.0 technologies to improve and increase collaboration. Several experimental initiatives are now under way.

The end of June marked the last day of Venkatapathi Puvvada’s tenure as chairman of the Industry Advisory Council. On July 1, Leslie Steele, chief executive officer of InterImage, took over leadership of the influential industry group.

Puvvada, Unysis’ vice president and chief technology officer — and better known as “PV” — inherited leadership of the organization three months early. That was because Bill Piatt, IAC’s previous chairman, stepped down to take a job with the World Bank, which is not an IAC member.

Although being thrust into the chairman’s seat a little early might have been jarring, it also gave Puvvada an opportunity to craft IAC’s direction.

Like many industry groups, IAC is facing challenges. Some of them have spurred a string of mergers among industry groups during the past year.

Much of IAC’s operating budget comes from membership and conferences — and the federal market is saturated with conferences. Puvvada said one of his goals was to put IAC on more secure financial
foundations.

IAC will hold a ceremonial changing of the guard ceremony later this month. Late last month, Puvvada sat down with FCW Editor-in-Chief Christopher J. Dorobek for a conversation about his tenure and accomplishments as he closed out his tenure as IAC chairman.

FCW: As you leave the IAC chairmanship, how do you see the organization?

Puvvada: This is a difficult financial time, you know, for obvious reasons. Market conditions are not conducive to people spending money. So, one way to deal with that is to plan for it at that time. The organization has enough in the bank to be able to survive for a long period of time. So I think that obviates it, but we need to do a lot more to drive value compensation on why folks need to be part of it.

FCW: What is the value proposition of IAC? How do you tell people what the value proposition is?

Puvvada: I mean, it is to be part of a collaborative environment of the government and industry. So there is no other organization that has a government component to it. You have stakeholders that are board members that have a neutral, independent, objective, collaborative environment with no single entity, individual position ahead of others.

So the value proposition is to participate in a dialogue to help government understand the priorities, how to get the priorities done, how to collaborate with various stakeholders — that could be industry, government, academia, media — and to do that in a way that doesn’t compromise any objectivity, any independence, anything else.

So it is really about collaboration — the ability to participate in the collaboration, to help a better government. And why is that good for companies? You’re ensuring that we’re looking at the right issues, we’re investing in the right issues. And then you can position yourself to kind of — as an industry partner — to help the government and support the services. So it’s unique in the sense that you have a government organi ation that helps you understand the issues, that works with you to collaborate how to get them done, what are the best practices.

You know, the big thing that hit me is you get what you want out of it — you get what you give. Give, and then you’ll get a lot. You’ll get it in different ways. 

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