Forman to industry: Help us share

Agencies are being called on to consolidate systems and share information under the Bush administration's e-government agenda, which also means that vendors need to rein in their natural inclination to sell the same solution to multiple agencies, Mark Forman told industry executives Oct. 25.

The major e-government goal outlined in the President's Management Agenda is to unify and simplify the services provided to citizens, businesses and other governments, and within federal agencies. This will usually translate into agencies sharing the information and services that are held by a single agency and getting rid of redundant systems and costs, Forman said at a breakfast hosted by Federal Sources Inc.

Getting agencies to this point will consume much of the time of the portfolio teams that will manage the e-government initiatives announced Oct. 25. But vendors will also have a role to play by changing how they handle the federal market, said Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget.

When a vendor develops a successful solution for one agency, it will always want to sell that solution to other agencies, and in the past that helped spread many good practices, Forman said.

But this is now an era of shared resources and a shrinking budget as money is poured into homeland security, Forman said. Agencies will have to justify their budget requests, and redundancy will be carefully examined.

Therefore, industry leaders need to work with the government to spread solutions across agencies, and federal officials need to persuade other agencies to use their system to deliver services, he said.

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