Closing the IT Gap: An Update

As part of the President’s Accountable Government Initiative, 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.  As part of that effort, my team was directed to develop a comprehensive strategy to reform how IT projects are built and procured.

On November 19, I’ll be presenting this strategy at a talk to the Northern Virginia Technology Council, in the heart of the capital region’s “Silicon Valley.” I’ll offer recommendations on reforming federal IT, ranging from project management to procurement to budgeting and personnel reforms – and I hope to discuss with the private sector there and in other venues how best we can transform federal IT.

We’re particularly excited about our IT reform efforts because, first, it represents $79 billion a year that can be better spent; and, second, these dollars are invested in technologies that can generate further cost-savings and better, more convenient services for the American public.

To that end, we have been moving forward over the past few months on the other parts of our IT reform agenda, including:

  • Reforming and cutting costly IT systems. The Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra is undertaking detailed reviews of the highest priority IT projects across the federal government. After reviewing dozens of projects, IT project budgets have been reduced dramatically, including cancellation of the Justice Department's Litigation Case Management System and the significant restructuring of the Interior Department's Incident Management Analysis and Reporting System.

  • Bringing Transparency to IT Spending. To provide the American people with unfiltered access to federal technology spending information, the Administration launched the IT Dashboard – a graphically-rich, user-friendly website that enables anyone to track spending on and progress of IT projects across the federal government.

  • Increasing Oversight of Financial System Modernization Projects. We directed all executive departments and agencies to stop issuing new task orders or procurements for all financial system modernization projects – an area of persistent problems – pending review and approval by OMB of new, more streamlined project plans.

  • Moving to consolidate data centers and deploy cloud computing technology to reduce IT, real estate, and energy costs. Already, we have implemented a zero-growth policy on federal data centers, we are working with agencies to review their plans, and we are on track to meet the president's objective to consolidate and significantly reduce the number of data centers within five years.

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