Minh-Hai Tran-Lam: Bringing the big picture into focus

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As government releases more information online, OMB's Minh-Hai Tran-Lam helps agencies change their processes for managing IT investments and disseminating the data.

Minh-Hai Tran-Lam has a rare view of government IT policy from her perch at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of E-Government and IT. As a policy analyst, she’s in charge of overseeing the overall IT investment portfolio and governmentwide initiatives for vendor management, electronic health records and several other areas. Since joining OMB in 2010, she has helped preside over wholesale changes to the way agencies manage their IT investments and disseminate information.

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"There has been a big shift in this administration from paper-based reporting to releasing information electronically," she told FCW. "Through the IT Dashboard and USASpending, we are moving a lot of valuable information online and releasing it on a much more regular basis."

An ongoing challenge has been to find ways to make the public aware of these efforts. "In order to get people to understand what open government means," Tran-Lam said, "you have to show them how it can impact their lives."

Behind the scenes, the PortfolioStat review process at OMB is changing the culture of federal IT by helping agency leaders recognize "that IT can’t be managed in a silo, but rather it has to be an integral part of how agencies do their business," she said. The investment reviews are "creating a culture of accountability and forcing a focus on outcomes over process."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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