OMB assesses next wave of e-gov projects

The Office of Management and Budget last month hired a contractor to help it evaluate prospective e-government consolidation efforts.

Under a three-month, $470,000 contract, Touchstone Consulting Group Inc. of Washington will assess opportunities in financial management, human resources, data and statistical development, public health information, criminal investigation and public-health monitoring.

“For each area, we are asking if there are opportunities to consolidate technical components, business processes, project management staff or purpose and function within the business line,” said Mark Forman, OMB’s administrator of e-government and IT, at the Marketview 2003 conference sponsored by Input of Reston, Va.

As OMB gets started on these new projects, many of the existing 25 e-government initiatives are entering a new phase. Most of the original projects will migrate to joint systems for each of their initiatives in the next 15 to 18 months, Forman said.

Forman described these projects as winding down. “Down for us means that the old solution is turned off, and we have migrated over to the citizen-centered systems,” he said.

The biggest obstacle to migrating projects from many systems to one common system, Forman said, has been developing migration plans.

One player

“There was no good way to turn systems off,” Forman said. “We looked at mergers and acquisitions, but the old approaches dealt with existing systems doing the same function like merging data centers. But our scenario includes new users, and the system will be operated by one player.”

The migration plans call for agencies to sign memorandums of understanding that lay out the processes they will follow, and identify products and services that agencies will buy from one another, Forman said.

The Health and Human Services Department’s E-Grants project is one of a handful that is close to merging grant services on a single system, Forman said. E-Payroll and E-Learning also are on track to move to one system.

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