Sharing to be built into budget

E-Government Strategy

Much more collaboration among information technology investments will be present in fiscal 2004 budget submissions than previously existed, leading to systems that have been designed from the beginning to satisfy multiple agencies' needs, Mark Forman said June 19.

The Office of Management and Budget has pushed agencies toward sharing investments on common solutions for some time, culminating in the 24 cross-agency e-government initiatives under development as part of the Bush administration's E-Government Strategy.

But following an agreement by agency chief financial officers at the CFO Council's offsite meeting earlier this year, the 2004 budget will reflect an increase in the number of investments that are planned from the beginning to be shared across agencies, according to Forman, the associate director for IT and e-government at OMB.

By collaborating on IT and e-government solutions in the development phase, agencies can cut down on the redundant investments that are causing such an inefficient use of the IT budget in the government, Forman said at the Fortune One Business conference in Falls Church, Va.

OMB estimates that agencies are spending more than $7 billion on the many agency-specific projects that are being consolidated into the 24 e-government initiatives alone, he said. Since the administration expects to need about $350 million to implement those initiatives, there will be clear savings for the government after the consolidation, he said.

These expected savings are making it easier for Congress to understand the importance of funding cross-agency projects instead of a project at each agency, Forman said.

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