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The Five Initatives


E-Gov Challenges & Solutions

Over the last year, the Federal Government has made significant progress transforming itself into a more productive "E-Enterprise" to serve citizens. We have overseen 24 citizen-centered, cross-agency E-Government initiatives that have started to make a real improvement in government service. For example:
    Challenge:    Duplicative IT investments.
    Solution:    Employed the President's Management Council, and other interagency groups, to encourage departments to partner on IT investments.
    Challenge:    Poor IT investments and under performing IT projects.
    Solution:    Potential redirection of funds.
    Challenge:    IT security gaps.
    Solution:    Established firm guidelines and an audit trail. Redirected funds to address critical gaps.
  • Instead of having to wade through 1000 or more websites, citizens are now only three clicks away from transactions and services on the redesigned portal, which Yahoo!© rated one of the "world's 50 most incredibly useful websites."
  • The website provides an easy-to-use, on-line tool for citizens to get access to more than 140 previously disparate Federal benefit programs.
  • The GoLearn.Gov portal uses a commercial e-learning solution to provide online training for tens of thousands of government employees for pennies per course, enabling thousands of government workers to be trained for a fraction of traditional costs.

But this progress has not been easy. And as we move forward on these issues, we still have a lot of work to do to address key gaps. If we're going to succeed in making the government a modern, electronic enterprise, we have to confront these challenges. Some of those gaps:

  1. Often, Agencies automate existing processes instead of fixing underlying management problems or simplifying business processes to take advantage of new E-Business and E-Government solutions. Take the grants process for instance. It is not useful simply to automate the application process for the myriad grant programs in the government. What we've done: In the grants area, we are creating a single electronic grant application that allows grant applicants to enter identifying information once, simplifying the process for them and the agencies, as well as giving the government better tools to track grantees. Through the budget process and the use of the Executive Branch Management Scorecard, we are helping agencies undertake significant reengineering of their own processes to maximize the efficiencies and benefits in commercial, off-the-shelf products, as well as to adopt the best practices from the private sector.
  2. Multiple Departments and Agencies buy the same IT items, resulting in duplicative investments rather than integrated efforts across the government that create one-stop points of service. What we've done: Through the e-government initiatives and the budget process we've been able to reduce the amount of duplicative investments. We've tried to use the President's Management Council and other interagency management councils to foster collaboration and develop agency commitment to partner with other agencies on some of their IT infrastructure. That's the basis of the E-Payroll initiative. It's been hard to get some agencies to give up control over their payroll processes, but eventually, we will have reduced the government's 22 payroll providers to just two. And we are finding similar opportunities, through the development of the Federal Enterprise Architecture, to consolidate the government's IT investments.
  3. On average, few federal IT investments have significantly improved mission performance, and many major IT projects do not meet cost, schedule, and performance goals. To address this, we are using the authorities established in the Clinger Cohen Act and elsewhere to scrutinize the funding identified as "at risk" and consider redirecting those funds. Many of those projects will remain on the "at risk" list or were not recommended for funding for FY2004. Those agencies either didn't adequately address security or make an adequate business case.
  4. Major IT security gaps exist within and across Federal agencies. What we've done: Through the implementation of the Government Information Security Reform Act (GISRA) we now have a baseline for agency IT security performance, and we have an audit trail of what has been secured and what still needs to be done. We've used the budget process to redirect funding to address critical security issues. Too many agencies propose funding for IT projects without adequately addressing important security issues.

No agency is immune to these challenges. They've existed for a long time in the Federal government. We need to address them in the short term so we can give the American people their money's worth.


Mark Forman

The Five Initatives:
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