GAO: Agencies need standard guide for measuring consolidation

The Office of Management and Budget should require agency officials to use its standardized approach to measuring costs and benefits for their data center consolidation efforts, according to a new report released July 19.

Without any standard measures, the government may not have reliable schedules for closings and achievements. It may also risk missed deadlines, budget problems, and poor overall performance, the Government Accountability Office reported.

OMB is sponsoring the development of a standardized cost model that could help agencies provide future estimates based on a common set of estimates and calculations. The Total Cost of Ownership model helps inform officials on consolidation decision-making, lays out consolidation paths, and assists in developing cost-savings figures and funding needs. So far though, no model has been required. It’s all been voluntary.

GAO recommended that Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel ensure agencies use the standardized model to improve consolidation planning.

Agencies have reported closing 286 data centers by the end of 2011 and they plan to close an additional 346 centers by the end of 2012. Further, the data center consolidation initiative is expected to save about $2.4 billion through 2015.

“However, agencies’ consolidation and savings goals continue to be built on incomplete inventories and plans,” GAO wrote.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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