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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Budget proposal to detail benefits of IT consolidation

The Bush administration's fiscal 2008 budget proposal will detail the financial benefits of an effort to consolidate back-office information technology systems across government, an Office of Management and Budget official said Tuesday.

The effort, known as the lines of business initiative, encourages agencies to move away from maintaining their own IT systems in areas such as financial management and human resources, and toward using service centers shared with other agencies. The service centers could be run by a federal agency or a private sector contractor.

From fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2007, planned spending on IT to support agency missions increased by $1 billion across government, said Tim Young, OMB's associate administrator for e-government and information technology, at the Government Performance Summit in Washington. But during that same period, there was a substantially smaller increase in planned infrastructure spending, Young said.

"In my view, that is an indication that agencies are consolidating and optimizing their infrastructure, and they're fully utilizing the president's e-government and lines of business initiative," Young said.

For example, the Housing and Urban Development Department saved more than $10 million in 2005 by transferring to the Treasury Department's HR Connect service center, and is in the process of shutting down 17 separate human resources systems, Young said.

"Transparency breeds accountability and accountability breeds results," Young said. "Look at the agencies that have no investments on the management watch list. One could conclude from this that they are pretty good, at least on paper, at planning the implementation of their capital investments."

-Daniel Pulliam, GovExec.com


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