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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Agencies share secrets for boosting e-gov grades

Federal agencies graded on the Bush administration's quarterly management score card continue to have mixed results in the area of expanding electronic government. But progress on the final fiscal 2006 score card could represent a turning point for several agencies.

Four moved out of the failing red category in e-government: the Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Administration, and State and Transportation departments. The turnarounds at Transportation and SBA were particularly noteworthy because the agencies jumped up two levels, from red to the top mark of green.

Three agencies -- the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments and NASA -- fell from yellow to red. Another 10 agencies are at the middle mark of yellow.

The Army Corps of Engineers and Homeland Security Department have never moved out of red in the e-government category, and the Veterans Affairs Department has not moved higher since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004.

Agencies' grades are based on a set of standards developed by the President's Management Council.

To achieve a green e-government grade, agencies must show that they have an effective enterprise architecture describing the structure of their IT processes and systems. They also need adequate IT security and acceptable business cases for all major system investments. None of the business cases can be on the "management watch list." They must also comply with the lines of business initiatives to consolidate back-end technology systems in areas such as financial management.

Agencies that score red have an inadequate enterprise architecture, unacceptable business cases for more than half of major IT investments, and inadequate compliance with IT security policies and procedures.

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