Young sees more IT consolidation

Federal agencies still spend too much money on back-office systems, an Office of Management and Budget official said today.

So look for more money-saving projects such as governmentwide shared services, said Tim Young, OMB's associate administrator for e-government and information technology.

Despite years of e-government efforts to unify the IT infrastructure underpinning common agency business processes, agencies still collectively spend $11 billion on back-office systems, Young said, speaking at the Input MarketView 2005 conference.

E-government projects have already generated some savings, as indicated by a 1 percent shift in proposed fiscal 2006 spending from agency back-office functions to mission support, Young said. But "we’re going to look at more opportunities for platform consolidation," he said.

The cybersecurity line of business had its first task force meeting last week, Young said. OMB officials hope that consolidation of common cybersecurity processes, services and technologies can improve government performance while lowering costs.

But whether the task force’s business case, due around September, actually finds cost savings through consolidation remains an open question, Young said.

"Maybe we should spend less overall as a government, maybe we should spend more," he said. "That's not for OMB to decide."

The cybersecurity business case may not recommend a common service provider approach, as the financial, grants and human resources lines of business have done. "Maybe there’ll be a hybrid approach, but that’s what the task force is there to look at," Young added.

Speaking after the conference, Young said OMB officials have yet to decide whether additional lines of business efforts will be launched in fiscal 2007. That analysis will be done using federal enterprise architecture as a tool, he said.

During budget briefings last month, OMB architecture officials said using the technical reference model to examine federal telecommunications infrastructure would be a priority in the coming year. OMB officials are working on an enterprise architecture strategy paper, which initially was due in the early months of 2005, but has not yet been released.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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