Ajay Budhraja serves as chief technology officer at the Justice Department‘s executive office for immigration review (EOIR) and brings two decades of information technology experience to his current position at DOJ.
His background includes work on enterprise IT implementation programs and also in areas such as application and infrastructure development, change management and mobile electronic business.
Budhraja spoke at the FOSE conference earlier this year to offer his perspective on what enterprise strategies should focus on in areas such as big data, cloud computing and trends he sees in big data and analytics.
In this conversation with ExecutiveGov, Budhraja continues on the themes he overviewed at FOSE and also gives a forecast on how big data tools could help drive work to identify patterns.
(Editor’s note: All views and information expressed during the session and below are solely Ajay’s views, and do not represent the positions and views of anyone else, any organization or any government agency)
ExecutiveGov: Introduce our readers to your background and areas of focus.
Ajay Budhraja: I have over 25 years experience in information technology with experience in areas such as executive leadership, management, project management, enterprise architecture, system architecture, software engineering, methodologies, training, networks and databases. I have provided senior executive leadership for global and nationwide programs and have led programs for integrated enterprise information technology solutions, enterprise business transformation, strategic planning and agile development.
I have also worked extensively in the areas of Cloud, Big Data, Shared Services, Virtualization, Analytics, Business intelligence, Mobility. For many years I worked in the telecommunications area to lead large, nationwide mobile applications and portal deployments that have included mobile platforms, applications and services. I have worked in the government and private sectors and have led big international, global programs.
ExecutiveGov: What should be the focus on moving to these emerging technologies?
Ajay Budhraja: The focus should be on developing an Enterprise Strategy for emerging Technologies and Cloud, Big Data, Mobility etc., leading such programs is like driving a racing car, you have to be agile and stay on course. Many organizations procure such services and deploy them piecemeal resulting in rework and reengineering that has to be done later.
I have worked on large programs for emerging technologies such as Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and the key is to determine and document the value of these technologies to the organization and also align the Information Technology strategy with the Business Strategy. Internal capabilities, external drivers, governance, organization structure and the overall approach needs to be defined and this then leads into planning for initiatives, resources and schedules.
ExecutiveGov: What trends do you see in the areas of cloud computing and big data?
Ajay Budhraja: There is a greater emphasis on building open solutions for the cloud and in the federal government a greater push towards the Gov Clouds. These isolated clouds provide secure capabilities for workloads and are intended to meet compliance requirements. There is a greater comfort level in moving towards cloud solutions as security concerns have been addressed. There is also a greater comfort level in moving beyond the areas of private clouds. Organizations are going beyond email and collaboration to build and leverage cloud services.
Cloud has had tremendous impact on moving organizations to utility based computing and with rapid deployments and quick availability of scalable services, Cloud can enhance productivity by providing the infrastructure or application platforms expeditiously. As existing applications are being transitioned to the Cloud, there is an increased focus on ensuring these services can effectively interact with existing services to develop comprehensive enterprise applications.
I also see a greater focus on Big Data mechanisms to handle unstructured information and identify specific patterns that can be further analyzed. In addition, with the greater velocity of data there has to be more emphasis on real time data analysis. Many Big Data solutions are being run on the Cloud to leverage the scalability and elasticity aspects of the Cloud.
ExecutiveGov: What are the impacts of Open Data?
Ajay Budhraja: Open Data drives innovation and encourages the the development of new products. This data should be made available in a standard manner so that developers can utilize it effectively. Open Data strategy should define the specific requirements of what data will be made available and opening it up effectively to the public and these efforts have had a tremendous impact on the effective utilization of the data. The data should also be available to reuse from a licensing perspective.
Data.gov has thousands of data sets that can be searched and utilized to build web and mobile applications that can provide great value to users in areas such as climate, public safety, education, finance etc.
ExecutiveGov: What are important areas to look into in the future?
Ajay Budhraja: It is important to focus on innovation and effectively manage technology areas such as cloud, shared services, big data and mobility. I have always worked on ensuring that the technology strategy aligns with the organization business strategy. Also, there has to be filteration to determine what technology fits where and also a focus on solutions that have effective governance and achieve cost savings.
There also has to be an emphasis on developing an enterprise strategy that addresses enterprise architecture and security to handle and process new technologies and to ensure their successful integration into the organization.