Next wave of e-gov projects coming soon

The executive steering committee leading the project to develop a federal health architecture is close to submitting recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget for cross-agency projects, said a senior administration official.

Karen Evans, OMB's e-government and IT administrator, today said the new initiatives will be detailed in the administration's fiscal 2005 budget request. These projects will replace many of the original 25 e-government initiatives that agencies are expected to complete by next summer.

The steering committee also will recommend technology standards for federal health systems, said Evans, who spoke at a lunch sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management in Washington.

OMB originally identified six areas for the next set of cross-agency projects. But based on an analysis by Touchstone Consulting Inc. of Washington, the agency decided the four areas that offer the best opportunities for cost savings and improved efficiency are: public-health monitoring, criminal investigation, human resources administration and financial management.

"The [25] e-government initiatives were the low-hanging fruit, and we are pretty much done with them," Evans said. "The next set of projects will be harder, and if we overcome the barriers, we will see huge efficiencies gained for the government."

Evans said the three other areas are not as far along as public-health monitoring. Agency working groups just started to identify standards and cross-agency opportunities for projects in the criminal investigations and financial management lines of business.

While these new projects are taking shape, Evans said the administration will continue to shepherd the 25 Quicksilver initiatives toward completion next summer.

"When we say these projects are completed, it means they are a part of the mainstream of government," Evans said. "The lead agencies must come up with a business model that is self-sustaining and provides their service governmentwide. OMB will not ignore them when they are completed. They will be a part of the federal infrastructure when we look at business cases."

Some projects, though, face an uphill battle to be completed by the summer. Evans said OMB and agency leaders are considering a new model for several projects. She said E-Authentication has gone to a decentralized model, and now E-Rulemaking, which is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, may be switched to a different model.

"We have learned a lot over the last two years, and now we are re-evaluating how we are doing it," Evans said. "With E-Rulemaking, we have to decide if we want to have a partially decentralized or fully decentralized model. We have to see what is the best way to deliver the service to the citizens."

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