White House IT Overhaul Plan Includes Imminent Action - InformationWeek

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03:06 PM
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White House IT Overhaul Plan Includes Imminent Action

Data center, cloud, program management, IT acquisition, and budget moves are coming within the next six months as part of Obama administration's IT overhaul.

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IT program management -- one of the top priorities for federal CIO Vivek Kundra in recent months -- will also see some changes in the near future. The Office of Personnel Management will create a career path for IT program managers that will help formalize federal IT program management capabilities, and the Federal CIO Council will foster IT program manager expertise with a new online portal to share best practices. OMB will also issue guidance requiring each major IT project to have an integrated IT program team that includes IT, business acquisition, and finance pros.

In terms of program oversight, OMB will by March stand up a version of the TechStat statistics-based management sessions at each agency, led by agency CIOs. Mandated official budget planning and justification documents -- Exhibits 53 and 300 -- will also see long overdue overhauls to transform them from underused paperwork into "authoritative management tools."

IT acquisition has long been a sticky subject for the federal government. Kundra has recently raised concerns that the acquisition workforce is understaffed and highly risk-averse. In addition to launching a campaign to counter "myths" about restrictions on the acquisition workforce's ability to work with industry, the administration plans within six months to issue guidance on requirements for IT acquisition specialist training and will launch an online, interactive platform to "effectively tap the understanding of industry partners."

Finally, OMB will take steps over the next few months to push new ways about thinking about IT budgeting. The traditional annual budgeting process is increasingly a thorn in the side of IT in an era of fast-paced changes that might see an entire generation of technology pass between the time a budget is proposed and spending finally begins to filter out. OMB plans to work closely with agencies and Congress over the next few months to determine how flexible "working capital funds" and other non-traditional types of government budgeting and spending could increase IT funding flexibility.

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