OMB calls for joint business cases

OMB Memo

As the next step toward getting agencies to build on one another's information technology investments, the Office of Management and Budget has given agencies until Aug. 21 to submit a list of potential joint business cases for common needs.

In the fiscal 2004 budget process, OMB will give priority consideration to IT investments with multi-agency business cases, according to an Aug. 6 memo from Mark Forman, assistant director of IT and e-government at OMB.

This memo follows through on the updated OMB Circular A-11, which defines investment policies and requirements, and the E-Government Strategy released in February that details the Bush administration's goal to improve government performance while reducing redundant spending.

To determine which projects can be combined across agencies, officials should use the federal enterprise architecture business reference model, a mapping of all agency business functions and systems compiled by OMB and released for agencies to review in July. OMB will work with agencies to prepare the joint business cases, but agencies should be prepared with an understanding of how their systems fit into the entire government infrastructure.

In addition to redundancies outlined in the Federal Enterprise Architecture, the OMB memo recommended several areas for possible collaboration, including:

* Projects that support one of the four e-government portfolio areas (government to citizen, government to business, government to government and internal efficiency and effectiveness).

* Projects that directly support the administration's homeland security goals.

* Projects for common infrastructure needs, such as software applications.

* Projects tied to information security initiatives.

OMB will review the joint business cases starting Aug. 23, and will respond to agencies identifying the business cases that should be submitted Sept. 9 as part of the fiscal 2004 budget requests.

OMB also is calling for agencies to submit updated business cases for each of the 24 e-government initiatives, which are already highlighting how agencies can work together on common needs.

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