An outsider’s view of innovation

Today’s interview is with one of the founders of Cloudera, Mike Olson. Rather than talk about how his company can help federal information technology folks, the focus of the discussion is an outsider’s view on technical innovation in the federal government.

Head shot of Mike Olson
Mike Olson, chief strategy officer, Cloudera

His company is well known for its hybrid open-source Apache Hadoop distribution. During the interview, Olson talked about how commercial organizations handled surprisingly large amounts of data. He showed some of the advantages of using the open source approach.

His company, Cloudera, works in the commercial world in organizations like banks and hospitals where compliance is as big a concern as in the federal government. Olson suggests that vendor lock-in with proprietary software can lead to situations where pricing can be abused and the software is not subjected to the testing of an integrated community.

Key concepts like collaboration and innovation can be accelerated when a team embraces concepts like agile software development and open source. In fact, Olson argues, in the next five years federal agencies will become deluged with so much data that the traditional approach of throwing proprietary solutions will not assist in achieving deadlines.

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