The Office of Management and Budget is going to announce today that it’s halting all financial systems modernization projects across the government.
That means 30 projects worth $20 billion are now effectively on hold until OMB can come up with a way to improve the procurement process in this area.
The most well-known failure in this area is the Veterans Affairs Department’s CoreFLS project (since replaced by a new program called FLITE that hasn’t gone much better). The department has spent a total of about $300 million on this boondoggle over 10 years and has seen no tangible benefits.
Jeff Zeints, OMB’s deputy director for management, is going to take four months to develop guidance on how to improve the federal procurement process for information technology. This is a source of frequent complaints from IT and acquisition officials — the government process is just too slow to keep up with rapid advancements in IT.
OMB is having a conference call in about a half hour to discuss its strategy — we’ll have an update for you later this afternoon.
June 28th, 2010 at 12:37 pm
It’s about time! Finally, someone willing to do what it takes to bring the federal government into the 21st century!
June 28th, 2010 at 6:09 pm
It’d be interesting to know the scope of these type of projects too. Specifically, how much data is actually being stored in these systems? I can imagine that there may be 100 million records managed (potentially), yet a single system has price tag of $300 million. (plus the fact that there is still no deliverable in sight).
Additionally, I wonder how many wheels are being reinvented inside these systems. For example, how many agencies try to roll their own payment system, notification system, etc – as opposed to interfacing with another existing best-of-breed system in these areas.
Overall, the procurement and management processes need to be well-aligned with the business objectives here – not locked into an antiquated process just because “that’s the way its always been”.
It certainly makes sense to re-evaluate the whole process. I’m interested in seeing what turns out after the 4-month review and issuance of guidance.
June 29th, 2011 at 8:05 pm
Many Federal Agencies insist having their own hardware and software systems. I am not a computer person but would it not make sense to have 1-2 computer systems to handle acquistions. Millions are spent developing and implementing software for each specfic agency which sometime is good and sometime bad. I am often puzzled, the Army has been using a sucessful system for years, while other agencies spend millions re-inventing the wheel which often does not work. Agencies that have fiscal departments run amuck because they play games with the acquisition dollars. The DOD system works and talks to three or five different software programs. The agency I work for has about 6 different software systems you need to log into to each one. Imagine the time that would be saved and could be put into production. Last if only our political leaders come to field and see for themselves we could save billions in training and operating costs.