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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tangled Lines of Business

"The Office of Management and Budget is pulling the plug on computer systems that agencies use to support administrative work. Under its 'lines of business' initiative, only a handful will remain to serve all of government. But despite OMB's determination that a few public and private administrative service centers displace the current array of disparate agency systems, its initiative could be tripped up in a tangle. Federally run fee-for-service operations have a troubled history. Government often is stymied by large-scale information technology projects. And OMB has yet to work out important details concerning public-private price competition and the treatment of unhappy customers.

In March 2004, the budget office first called together representatives from across government to examine administrative functions common to all agencies. Among the targeted areas were human resources, financial management and the processing of federal grant applications. The technology underpinning these lines of business was ripe for centralization and consolidation, OMB believed.

'The current way we do business is not getting the results that we need,' says Karen Evans, OMB administrator for e-government and IT, and the guiding influence behind the lines of business initiative."

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