IT Dashboard Problems Surface

Tomas OKeefe_65x85by Tomas O’Keefe, Senior Analyst

One of the great tools we in the vendor community have is the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) IT Dashboard, which is a fantastic resource that provides us an additional layer of detail regarding agency’s IT budgets. The Dashboard was created as a way to display the Exhibit 300s that make up some of the key IT investments in the federal space, as well as providing us additional visibility on progress toward meeting OMB initiatives like the 2012 Digital Government Strategy. OMB has also used it to highlight at-risk government IT investments, of which there are quite a few.

Unfortunately, however, the IT Dashboard seems to go for months without being updated, and the lack of updates has now caught the eye of the Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO found that over the last few years the IT Dashboard has been updated only 33% of the time instead of every month, which seems to be somewhat in opposition to the mission of transparency that was championed by the Obama Administration when the President first came in to office. As a result, vendors are on the outside looking in and aren’t able to quickly respond to these troubled programs, as they could do if the government was more transparent.

GAO suggests that the culprit for the lack of updates is agencies’ difficulties in accurately assessing the state of their major IT projects, but Federal CIO Stephen VanRoekel suggested that the lack of updates is due to the desire to not release pre-decisional information that could influence the budget process. It’s also likely that agencies that are struggling with IT project management are hesitant to make their problems known, despite the fact that it would be in their best interests, so the vendor community could come to their aid. GAO also notes that several government agencies have reclassified some of their investments in ways that result in those investments disappearing from the IT Dashboard, another blow against transparency.

Regardless of the reasons, as this issue surfaces there could be opportunities for vendors:

  1. To aid OMB with making it easier to display the information on the IT Dashboard, vendors who can assist in web development, data and information sharing, and visualizing complex data sets such as agencies’ IT budgets should contact OMB;
  2. Make it easier for agencies to more reliably update their information through many tools like analytics and program/project management software.

And if you’re looking for areas of opportunity, a quick look at some more of the troubled programs on the IT Dashboard could help vendors figure out key targets going forward – there are certainly opportunities to help federal agencies who seem to be struggling with their IT investments according to the Dashboard. Of course, the Market Intelligence team here at immixGroup is more than happy to help you identify opportunities at federal agencies, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 10 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

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