A Whole New Ball Game

By law and regulation, Congress and the Clinton Administration want to change the way agencies think about, buy and use information technology. Here's how:

Capital Planning - IT investment decisions must be integrated with budget and financial decisions. Before making IT investments, agencies must perform cost/benefit analyses, report the expected return on investment, identify benefits to and impacts on other agencies and develop performance measures.

Performance-Based Management-The Office of Management and Budget will manage the government's IT portfolio, balancing the risk, return and governmentwide effect of every investment. As part of each year's federal budget, OMB will report to Congress on net program performance benefits resulting from major IT capital investments.

Competition-Agency heads also must report annually to Congress on efficiency and effectiveness improvements gained using IT. OMB will compare agency IT performance reports. Based on these reports, OMB can recommend reductions and/or increases in agency budgets or designate an executive agent to hire a contractor to manage the agency's information resources or IT acquisitions.

Purchasing-The Brooks Act is repealed. The General Services Administration is no longer the central authority for IT acquisitions and agencies are free to buy what they want as long as they comply with governmentwide standards. The General Accounting Office will hear IT bid protests once lodged with GSA's Board of Contract Appeals. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy will run pilot programs testing alternative approaches to IT acquisition.

Modular Contracting-Major information systems investments should be made in increments as narrow in scope and brief in duration as possible.

Chief Information Officers-Agency heads are to name CIOs responsible for budget-linked capital planning and performance management of IT systems. CIOs will report directly to agency heads, whom they will advise whether to undertake, continue or terminate IT investments.

CIO Council-A group made up of agency CIOs will make overall federal IT policy, share best practices, and set hiring and professional development standards for information management.

Government Information Technology Services Board-Agency experts-especially in crosscutting fields such as electronic benefits and commerce, law enforcement, defense, health care and environmental protection-will promote National Performance Review IT recommendations, seek opportunities for cross-agency cooperation, develop governmentwide IT standards and create interagency "affinity groups" focused on business areas with similar IT or customer requirements.

Information Technology Resources Board-Agency IT and acquisition experts will assist agencies and OMB by assessing how agencies develop, buy and manage major IT systems. The board will publicize lessons learned and seek input from industry, academic and state and local governments.

IT "Swat Teams"-Presidential technology teams, groups of IT experts from across government, will be available to work for six to 18 months with individual agencies on particularly knotty IT problems. Team members gain experience, agencies get extra help.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.