OMB group to focus on joint-use systems

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the past few years, the Bush administration's mantra for common systems has been to create them once and use them many times. Office of Management and Budget officials are taking steps this month to put that idea into practice.

Karen Evans, OMB administrator for e-government and information technology, said OMB has created a task force that is expected to meet this month to consider how agencies could collaborate on single solutions for specific cross-government areas.

The focus on cross-agency systems was evident in the fiscal 2005 budget review. OMB officials identified funds that agencies were planning to spend on systems in two areas: grants and human resources management. OMB officials call these areas common

lines of business, which administration officials see as the next phase of

e-government.

OMB officials told agencies not to invest new dollars in such projects until a governmentwide solution is found.

"We want to bring in the people we need to bring in, ask the questions that we need to ask," Evans said last week 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 March 18, is focusing on grants and human resources management because there are several opportunities for

collaboration that officials have already identified during the initial

e-government initiatives, Evans said. Clay Johnson, OMB deputy director for management, is also sending a letter to agency officials to outline their involvement and how the process will move forward, Evans said.

OMB officials plan to ask for industry input by issuing a request for information about the best way to approach consolidation efforts, she said.

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