It's congratulations this week to Marc Benioff, CEO of CRM firm salesforce.com for being appointed to head up the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). We're not sure how technologically-savvy George Bush is (though we're willing to hazard a pretty good guess!!!) so he probably needs as much good advice as he can get.
US Presidents have an enormous interest in the IT industry round about now in any administration as the next election comes into view and the campaign collecting cans start to get rattled. Bill Clinton was a notorious panderer to the whims of IT CEOs who wanted to think they had the President's ear and worked them like a pro by pandering to their egos. I suspect Bush has considerably less of that charm, but at least he doesn't have a vice president who claims to have invented the internet!
CRM vendors have been all over Washington like a bad rash since 9/11, arguing that their products and the like can make a major contribution to Homeland Security with some somewhat tastelessly going as far as to suggest that 9/11 might not have happened if the government and security forces had had a decent CRM system in place.
Anyone who's met him will realise that Benioff is a man who doesn't mince his words. He knows his own mind and he's only to ready to make sure that you know it too. There's quite a lot of banging on table tops that goes on from I can recall or maybe I just brought that out in him. Whatever else Bush gets, he will get a no-nonsense, unequivocal advice, I'm sure.
Mind you, Tom Siebel and Larry Ellison must be fizzing mad. Siebel has been hugely forceful in his presentations to politicos in Washington, while Ellison has long shouted out to be at the heart of any citizen ID database. Ellison at least has the comfort of seeing Oracle walk off with the Homeland Security technology contract that Siebel had coveted so much.
So good luck to Benioff! Let's hope he pushes things along in the right direction. CRM has an enormously powerful role to play as Citizen Relationship Management in the public sector around the globe. If Benioff's presence on the PITAC can help that argument get to the right ears, then it will be a good thing all round.