MeriTalk - Where America Talks Government
Steve O'Keeffe


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Posted: 7/24/2009 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
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What an image to conjure with... No, this is not some bizarre fetish site - it's the Obama administration's primary weapon to reinvent government IT. For those of you who haven't clicked on it.usaspending.gov - are you living in a cave? For those of you that have, you doubtless join me in wondering will Fed IT ever be the same? Sure, there are significant data gaps - notably, there are not a lot of contractor names associated with the distressed programs - but this is a beta version. To be sure, the "nerd alert" dashboard represents a huge step forward in illuminating this $72 billion labyrinth. As if the transparency and insight aren't enough, my head is spinning considering the myriad applications one might build on top of the site's data feeds - the opportunity for the "government as a platform" is very real.

So, will CIOs take notice of the nerd alert and will this new transparency improve IT performance? The answers are "they'd better," and, "how could it not?" VA shot out of the blocks early when Roger Baker announced that he would put a "temporary halt" on 45 hospitalized programs valued at $200 million - all programs flagged "red" on the nerd alert. Vivek Kundra blogs about evidence-based decision making - and increased accountability forces people to make difficult decisions that many would duck in obscurity.

While the direction is exciting, its disruptive energy is equal parts efficiency motivator and wall of shame. It will both attract new blood to government IT and compel familiar faces to hang up their pocket protectors. The nerd alert will empower real contractor past-performance visibility across government - perhaps killing off the "bid-low-and-get-well-on-change-action" approach to bidding programs. Considering relations between agencies and their contractors, government will likely see price hikes as contractors build in insulation -- and expect public-private tension to ratchet up a few dozen notches. Oh, and complete transparency should mean a boon for diversity - small disadvantaged business really means small disadvantaged business.

The beauty of this site is more than skin deep - so take some time to play with it and you'll be amazed what you'll find. If it's too much to get your head around, sign up for the free "MeriTalk IT Dashboard 101" Webinar - www.meritalk.com/itdashboard. Think of us as a free personal trainer.

From the nerd alert to the top echelons of government to the contractor wallet, all at internet speed - now that's Government 2.0. More sunshine, more rigorous workouts, who says government IT isn't sexy?