If I were president-elect Barack Obama’s IT manager . . .

He’s going to have his hands full. There’s the sagging economy, the war in Iraq and a string of domestic issues facing Barack Obama as he takes office as the 44th president of the United States. Among other things, he’s going to need the right IT to back him up.

I’m not sure who gets to make the personal technology personal decisions for the president – I’m assuming he doesn’t make them himself – but it would be a lot more fun than providing the same services to, say, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I mean, the Conservatives have banned BlackBerries from their caucus meetings, for crying out loud.

In some respects Obama will be coming to Washington with the same spirit as a new chief executive does to a struggling company. With that in mind, here’s a possible wish list that would allow him to hit the ground running:

The BlackBerry 8800: Sure, it’s not as new as the Bold or the Storm, but this was the series that really re-established RIM’s product as the device of choice for business leaders. If this is really going to be America’s first BlackBerry president, you might as well give him the model that best suits his role.

HP’s Elitebook 2530p: Although there’s a reported 24 hours of battery life in the Dell Latitude E6500, HP’s Elitebook 2530p is light enough, at three pounds, to be carried around from the Oval Office to press conferences. It also has security add-ons like FileSanitizer to erase disks and shred data. HP says the laptop meets U.S. Department of Defence standards, so what better for the president?

Windows XP: Until Microsoft puts the finishing touches on Windows 7, I’d allow President-elect Obama to follow the lead of many other enterprise customers and sidestep deployment of Windows Vista and use a platform that’s still compatible with most major applications. Microsoft hasn’t made it easy to get XP, but it’s hard to imagine them turning the leader of the free world down.

Firefox 3: The focus among has been on Google’s Chrome since it was launched last month, but I would give the next U.S. president a slightly more mature browser. Firefox 3 has a ton of plugins and extensions that aren’t even that hard to download and install, though Obama would be forgiven if he needed just a little help on those tasks. He’s going to be busy.

Duet: Assuming the U.S. government actually uses SAP for its ERP – and I’m not sure why it wouldn’t – it would be great if Obama could make use of the tie-in from Microsoft that would allow him to access mission-critical data through common tools like Outlook.

None of this is to say I’m hoping to get a job working in IT for Barack Obama. I just want to help. Consider it a first attempt at improved Canada-U.S. relations.

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