E-gov officials eye grants, HR

ORLANDO, Fla. — The next phase of e-government will move forward after a government task force meets this month to examine consolidation opportunities in grants management and human resources management, an administration official said today.

Grants management and human resources, along with public health information systems, criminal investigation and financial management applications, have been identified as the next focus for e-government beyond the first 24 initiatives announced so far. Office of Management and Budget officials will look for ways agencies can collaborate in these areas, said Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for information technology and e-government.

"We want to bring in the people we need to bring in, ask the questions that we need to ask," Evans said, speaking at the Information Processing Interagency Conference sponsored by the Government Information Technology Executive Council. "It has to take into consideration consolidation and cost savings. This is giving everyone the opportunity to look at that and come up with a common architecture."

The task force — scheduled to meet on Mar. 17 or Mar. 18, Evans said — is focusing on grants and human resources management because there are several opportunities for collaboration that officials have already identified during the initial e-gov efforts, Evans said. OMB officials plan to reach out to industry with a request for information about the best way to approach consolidation efforts, she said.

"We're looking forward to working with industry on what you see is the best way for us to move forward," Evans said.

The fiscal 2005 budget process outlined for the first time the extent to which agencies were investing in development and modernization efforts in these lines of business. By outlining how agencies are spending money, officials can find areas for potential collaboration.

Also, Evans announced that OMB will release a memo today telling agencies how to move forward in the governmentwide SmartBuy enterprise licensing program. Since its announcement last summer, the program has moved slowly, causing some analysts to wonder what is the next step. The guidance is expected to inform agency officials on how to proceed in managing their SmartBuy efforts and avoiding duplication of the investments made in the 24 e-government initiatives, Evans said.

"This memo has specific guidance in there for agencies on how to proceed," she said.

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