For years, outgoing Brocade CEO Mike Klayko published a blog to chronicle his passion for advocacy within Local, State and Federal government. As an executive and through his service to organizations such as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Mike’s constant voice, and action, concerning matters that improve business climate and social condition have reinforced a culture of engagement at Brocade. It was my pleasure - and learning experience – to join him on several of his advocacy trips to Washington D.C. and in-state as well. Earlier this week, I had the privilege of seeing all of this effort pay off when Mr. Klayko testified before the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
One of several pillars within Brocade's Corporate Responsibility (CR) platform, the Government Affairs program promotes civic engagement by working with a variety of stakeholders from the private sector, public sector, trade associations and others to understand and influence policy. Government priorities are vast be they social policies that are important to employees and the broader citizenry or business policies that have direct impact on Brocade's products, industry and business ecosystem. As a global technology leader, the Company's policy interests range from tax reform and responsible supply chain practice to cyber-security and broadband. On the other side of policy, Brocade also has a responsibility to provide competitive solutions to a very important entity – the Federal Government.
Collectively, agencies within the U.S. Government spend $80 Billion annually on Information Technology (IT) goods and services. Some of that investment goes to programs to ensure our national safety or to enable the daily operations of our nation’s key infrastructures. But, unfortunately there is some waste. Some reports indicate that one-quarter of that investment is made inefficiently, leading to the purchase of legacy products that stifles innovation and restricts healthy competition. Yesterday’s hearing sought to address a critical question aimed at reducing waste: “How Can the Federal Government Reform its IT Investment Strategy?”
I have been working alongside Brocade executives, consulting experts, business leaders, and officials within the offices of our Representatives Eshoo, Honda, and Lofgren – in addition to the Committee leadership, Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Connolly - and others to explore solutions to answer that very question. The Committee is developing potential legislation to drive reforms in this area to increase efficiencies in IT procurement. In addition to several best practices commonly used in the private sector, Brocade believes that referring to open industry standards when identifying and purchasing IT goods and services will drive innovation, increase competition and allow for the reallocation of significant resources (human and financial capital) to other needs. The use of open industry standards can spur economic development and even address certain cyber-security concerns.
Mike had the opportunity to share that opinion at the recent hearing and I was proud to witness this first-hand. Of course, as an intuitive leader, Mike was also clear to point out the human element in this important equation. Programmatic efficiencies and legislation are not enough. Just as in the private sector, Federal agencies will be wise to create environments where people have the skills and resources to be successful and thrive; where culture inspires individuals to learn and to do their best.
During the event I reflected on the 18 month journey we navigated leading up to the Hearing - it was a testament to the Company's commitment to influencing public policy that can have a positive impact on the larger business ecosystem of IT goods and services; results that are good for business, good for government – and good for taxpayers.