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Fiscal year-end spending: Does 'use it or lose it' still rule?

The 21 Quicksilver e-government initiatives. Lines of business. Enterprise architecture. Strategic sourcing. Since 2001, the Office of Management has championed a number of ideas or programs intended to bring order to federal IT spending. But has it really made a difference?

The end of the fiscal year is a perfect time for a reality check. For years, OMB officials have bemoaned the fact that September usually brings a rush of spending as agency officials look to use up the last of the old fiscal year's funding -- and along the way pick up some nifty new technology.

As a matter of fact, when I was a cub reporter at Federal Computer Week in the early 1990s, the “use-it-or-lose-it” mentality provided a good opportunity to track technology trends. A team of reporters would check in with execs in government and industry to see what products topped that year’s shopping list.

In theory, that wouldn’t work now. Ideally, agencies are planning out their purchases carefully, based on some sort of IT master plan and acquisition strategy. But I can’t help but wonder if that’s the case.

What do you think? Is IT spending more strategic these days, or is the end of September still a shopping extravaganza? Leave your comments below.

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Sep 20, 2010 at 12:18 PM


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