IT business cases going online

By mid-February 2007, agencies will have to post all of their Office of Management and Budget-approved business cases on the World Wide Web.

According to OMB Circular A-11 guidance, the administration expects agencies to remove sensitive data from the business cases and post them on a Web site within two weeks of the president submitting his budget to Congress. The White House traditionally sends the budget to Congress in early February.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for IT and e-government, today said that agencies provide her office with several business cases, but only those that make it into the budget request will be released.

For the last four years OMB has resisted making business cases public. Only in the past year have private-sector market research firms filed Freedom of Information Act requests to get redacted versions of the business cases.

Evans said because some agencies did make their business cases available while others didn’t, the change in A-11 was to ensure consistency among agencies.

Evans, who spoke at the Government Electronic IT Association conference in Falls Church, Va., also said the government is on target to meet the Oct. 27 deadline for Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

Another cross-agency initiative, the Lines of Businesses (LOBs), also are progressing, Evans said, adding that task forces for the three new LOBs—IT infrastructure, budget formulation and geospatial management—have submitted their recommendations to OMB.

OMB now is reviewing them and will include final decisions in the fiscal 2008 budget request in February.

While Evans did not offer too many details on the recommendations, she did say the key is to standardize business practices so people can build centers around that.

“At my old agency, [the] Energy [Department], we had 22 different help desks that this LOB [IT Infrastructure] could help consolidate,” she said. “Some basic services that everyone does could be improved across agencies using best practices.”

Bobbi Terkowitz, an IBM official, said her research on LOBs for the conference indicated that OMB would not be introducing any new initiatives for 2007.

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