FSI: Integrators play a growing role in efficient government

With only a 1 percent increase in federal information technology spending slated for fiscal year 2005, the government wants its IT contractors to help it make the most of limited dollars, analysts with a federal market research firm said.

Officially, the federal IT spending proposal for 2005 is set at $59.8 billion of the country's total $2.3 trillion national budget.

But Federal Sources, Inc, a McLean, Va.-based government IT-market forecaster, puts the figure at $61 billion-plus, noting that actual spending usually exceeds the planned budget and that the official IT budget doesn't account for all IT-related professional and technical services and solutions.

But with the ballooning federal budget deficit ? now at around $7.1 trillion - the Office of Management and Budget is looking for federal departments and agencies to spend their stretched dollars more wisely than ever, including their financial resources for IT.

The OMB wants IT companies "to deliver government services faster and cheaper" by implementing and integrating solutions across agencies, said James Morhard, the chief of staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, speaking yesterday at FSI's annual federal outlook conference.

To realize this objective for fiscal 2005, FSI says that the OMB has a fivefold agenda for federal IT spending. Its checklist includes:

  • Rationale and consolidate IT programs by making systematic investments in homeland security IT projects, increasing the use of e-government tools and continuing to reduce duplicative efforts

  • Continue emphasizing proper planning and decision-making about capital investment with common sense management and principles

  • Increase investment for modernizing critical IT infrastructure, especially security

  • Promote responsible management and fiscal discipline to improve project effectiveness and use funding more efficiently

  • Build IT workforce skills to implement the above objectives

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