Prakash Yarlagadda, Director of Strategic Initiatives at CSC, talked with WashingtonExec about his career and provided some thoughts on SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) at CSC. Read on to learn more about Yarlagadda, his passion for basketball, and his thoughts on the next big thing in the technology industry.
WashingtonExec: Could you tell us a little about your background, your role at CSC and your overall history in the technology industry?
Prakash Yarlagadda: I have over eighteen years of experience in the technology and IT management space. I’ve worked for start-ups as well as Fortune 500 companies. I had founded a couple of start-ups too; one here and another out of India for back office support. My specialties include Technology/IT Strategy, IT Management/Service Delivery and Organization building/development.
WashingtonExec: What you hope to see from Todd Park, Federal CTO, and what legacy do you think Aneesh Chopra left behind as the first Federal CTO?
Prakash Yarlagadda: I think Aneesh did a brilliant job in setting a technology path for the nation as a whole. Todd Park I think is a great choice. Our President has picked the right person for that position. In him, we have a well-educated CTO who is entrepreneurial (founder for Athena Health) and can develop and execute on his strategies. What I would like to see from Todd is really an API.gov initiative, where certain aspects of what a given agency does are exposed out as an API. If you combine that with the current Data.gov initiative, our CTO can essential provide the building blocks for innovative apps and services. A lot can be done with these building blocks by innovators and small shops that have brilliant ideas for mission and citizen services but currently don’t have access to the contract vehicles or the procurement channels or access to data and government processes. These building blocks (data and API) will allow them to start interfacing with the government. I think the engagement that the citizens have with the federal government is only going to increase with that. That’s something that I would love to see Todd kick-start and actually make it successful.
“I see social media, local, mobile services, big data , machine to machine communication, etc… all coming together for a big party. When all of these get tied in you can do amazingly powerful things based on a given context.”
WashingtonExec: Do you use SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) at CSC, or is this just a trendy phrase?
Prakash Yarlagadda: Yes, we use SoLoMo very effectively at CSC. We use C3 (CSC’s social media platform) for collaboration across 97,000 employees all over the globe. Mobile is a huge driver for our customers and us. We have an internal BYOD policy and a number of mobile apps that have significantly changed the way we work. While we use location-based solutions for inventory management, asset tracking, etc… we are yet to see a significant uptick in usage of local data. CSC is making significant bets on mobile, cloud and app/business process transformation. All three (social, local and mobile) have a significant impact on that strategy.
WashingtonExec: What is something entry-level employees or contracting employees in general should be doing to protect the infrastructure? We know that it only takes one device to bring Anonymous into an entire company.
Prakash Yarlagadda: Absolutely, there are some basic security practices like having a strong password, having malware protection, encrypting sensitive data, making sure that you have good MDM software that will allow you to track your device and remote wipe it if required, etc… will be helpful. There are different levels of security and different constraints that you need to worry about. Our recommendation whenever we talk to our customers is, yes security is an issue but there are ways to mitigate the risk. First and foremost you need to understand the data and services you want to get to the edge. Security must be thought of at different levels; device, application, data and network/infrastructure levels. Once you understand the data and services you want to consume on the edge and understand your risk taking propensity you can then embed security at all of those levels. User training plays a huge part in making sure your assets are protected. Appropriate training, guidelines and policies will help reduce the risk as well
Unfortunately, there is not one silver bullet that will take care of all of the security for the device.
WashingtonExec: What is something most people don’t know about you? I know you have a blog, maybe it’s on there.
Prakash Yarlagadda: I like to play basketball but not a lot of people know that I don’t watch that much basketball unless it’s a conference finals or an important game. People find it surprising that for someone who likes to play as much as I do that I don’t watch it.
WashingtonExec: What is the next big technology that we should watch out for?
Prakash Yarlagadda: I see social media, local, mobile services, big data , machine to machine communication, etc… all coming together for a big party. When all of these get tied in you can do amazingly powerful things based on a given context. Imagine you walking into a shopping mall and your mobile device starts talking to the stores in the mall, the products in the stores, looking at 3rd party and friend reviews on the products and finally based on your shopping list it will recommend a product and tell you where the best price is. We are at the cusp of a mind-blowing evolution in how we live and work. The next big technology is that evolution where we will have context engines and frameworks where all of these get tied in. It is going to be a context sensitive, exciting and integrated lifestyle we all will be leading.