Zients claims $4B savings through technology, management improvement

Citing “innovative management techniques” and better use of technology as key reasons, Jeffrey Zients wrote that the agencies reduced their costs by more than $2 billion in the first quarter of 2012.

The cut was measured in comparison to the first quarter of 2010. Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, also wrote in the OMB Blog that agencies had saved an additional $2 billion in the second quarter. The savings came through agency efforts to adhere to an executive order telling agencies to find efficiencies.

“[P]erhaps just as important as the savings themselves is the fact that they are indicative of innovative management practices federal agencies are implementing to get the most out of every dollar,” he wrote. “We are spending less money, and we’re spending it smarter in order to get the most bang for our buck.”

For example, he wrote, the Agriculture Department achieved some savings by consolidating its mobile phone contracts. “An analysis of USDA’s cellular inventory showed that USDA had over 700 plans and about 36,000 lines of service,” he wrote. “The number of plans has been reduced considerably, and about 1,700 unused and obsolete lines have been discontinued, resulting in savings of approximately $4.7 million this year alone.”

As examples of agencies using technology to work smarter, he cited:

  • An Air Force effort to move to digital document sharing and collaboration, electronic forms and electronic publishing, saving a projected $80 million over the next five years.
  • The Interior Department’s use of teleconferencing, videoconferencing, webinars, shared web sites and other real-time communications to reduce travel costs for meetings.

Zients also credited agency efforts to reduce vehicle fleet sizes and move toward more fuel-efficient vehicles as another important source of savings.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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