Tech CEOs Give White House Budget Advice - InformationWeek

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10/6/2010
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Tech CEOs Give White House Budget Advice

Top officials at major tech companies offered White House economic officials a plan to save the government $1 trillion by 2020, mostly through better use of IT.

Tech industry CEOs converged on Washington on Wednesday to present Obama administration officials with an industry plan to save the government $1 trillion by 2020, with the prospective savings coming largely through more effective use of information technology.

The top execs of IBM, Dell, Applied Materials, Intel, Micron and Motorola shared the plan, outlined in a Technology CEO Council report titled "One Trillion Reasons," with the White House economic team, including Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, National Economic Council director Larry Summers and Council of Economic Advisers chair Austan Goolsbee, and was submitted to a federal commission looking at ways to reduce the federal deficit.

The Tech CEO Council's recommendations include a number of steps that could save the government significant money without requiring major program cuts, big tax hikes or even much new legislation. In fact, many of the steps are already part of or are extensions of federal CIO Vivek Kundra and federal chief performance officer Jeff Zients' tech agenda.

"Recent discussion of the fiscal crisis appears to be trapped inside this conundrum," the report says. "We hear about draconian, across-the-board spending reductions -- or equally sweeping tax hikes. Based on our experience in the technology industry, we believe there is a better way."

The report centers on seven specific initiatives the government can carry out, including consolidating infrastructure, streamlining supply chains, reducing energy use, moving toward shared services, applying advanced business analytics to reduce fraud and waste, moving toward electronic self-service for government services and monetizing excess government assets by leasing or them off. The report cites examples to back up its claims.

Simply by decreasing duplicative supply chains, the report says, the federal government could save as much as $500 billion over 10 years, citing supply chain reforms at the postal service that cut supply chain costs by 20%. Stopping fraud with advanced BI, meanwhile, could save the government $200 billion over that time frame, the report said.

In a response to the report posted on the White House's blog, Zients said that he agreed with many of the group's findings, and noted that many of the proposed initiatives are already underway in one form or another. "We look forward to working with this group and people from across the country to create a government that is more effective and efficient, more open and accountable," he wrote.

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