An August 31 deadline is looming for federal agencies. This is the deadline for submitting plans to consolidate and share human resources, email systems, help desk support and other information technology services.
The goal of this effort is to streamline government services, cut waste and drive efficiencies. To this end, agencies must share at least two Office of Management and Budget-approved services by December 2012, according to the OMB’s Federal IT Shared Services Strategy. Agencies also have to update their consolidation plans annually. These plans are to include inventories of IT assets, including systems and services.
Clearly this is an effort by the current Administration to reduce costs. While the new era of “doing more with less” in government is certainly laudable, it raises some concerns about overall effectiveness.
Will this consolidation actually be detrimental to government performance?
The answer is “we will have to see.” By October, OMB will launch its online IT services catalog of services and contracts that agencies can share across government. Agencies will be held accountable for meeting performance goals when it comes to implementing this consolidation.
The key to any consolidation effort is to make sure that all IT assets are fully being maximized and tie into agency goals. We hope that this effort will not cause agencies to have less IT resources at their fingertips. Fortunately, the ongoing agency performance goals for the implementation is a great idea, but what about performance metrics for overall IT, post-consolidation. Who knows … we may find some agencies may need to go back to their previous levels of IT usage.