Seeing Eye to Eye with the Tech CEO Council

Today, the Technology CEO Council released a report outlining a plan to “maximize productivity…and enhance government services” through the use of technology. This distinguished group of corporate leaders -- from companies such as IBM, Dell, and Motorola -- believe that by utilizing some of the best practices of the private sector, the government can realize significant savings and improve the service delivered to you, the taxpayers.

We couldn’t agree more -- and that’s why for the past 20 months, as part of the President’s Accountable Government Initiative, the team at OMB along with our colleagues throughout the federal government has been launching a series of initiatives to close the “technology gap” between the private and public sectors to cut waste and boost performance. In fact, this list of initiatives closely mirrors those outlined by these tech industry leaders.

For instance, we are moving aggressively to reform how information technology is used and procured. A review of financial systems modernization efforts already has led to cancellations and reforms that will save $750 million, and our team is also reviewing 30 high-priority IT projects across the government to find further savings and areas for improvement. We are moving to consolidate data centers, and use cloud computing to reduce IT, real estate, and energy costs. And I am leading an effort to fundamentally reform how IT projects are procured and managed so that best practices are identified, shared, and built in from the get-go.

Similarly, we are achieving savings by changing how the federal government purchases goods and services. We have reversed the trend of significant growth in high-risk contracts -- such as "no-bid" contracts -- and the percentage of dollars awarded in new contracts without competition has dropped by 10 percent. We are on a path to realize the President’s goal of saving $40 billion in contracting savings by the end of FY 2011. In addition, we are working to centralize some purchasing so that the federal government gets the best deal for taxpayers. For instance, by consolidating the purchase of office supplies, we will save 20 percent or $200 million over four years.

Finally, when it comes to the roughly $110 billion in improper payments sent out by the federal government each year, the President has set an ambitious goal of reducing them by $50 billion between now and 2012. To meet this challenge, the Administration has embarked on a range of strategies from creating a government-wide Do Not Pay List to expanding the use of payment recapture audits, audits in which there is a financial incentive for recovering misused funds.

These are just three examples of where we have moved the ball on cutting waste and modernizing government. Whether it’s reforming and cutting costly IT systems, implementing unprecedented transparency and reporting efforts, pursuing $40 billion in contracting savings, buying in bulk, establishing a government-wide Do Not Pay list, or moving toward electronic government payments, we’re making real progress in changing the way government does business.

In its report, the Technology CEO Council writes that the key to creating a government that is more efficient and more effective is "leadership -- and it must come from all sectors of society." We couldn’t agree more, and look forward to working with this group and people from across the country to create a government that is more effective and efficient, more open and accountable.

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