OMB, GSA thinking big with geospatial, budget LOBs

For businesses that want a chance to help the government shape how it formulates and executes budgets and uses geospatial information in the future, this is your opportunity.

Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration officials urged those in the private sector and in state and local government to respond boldly and creatively to two of the administration's most recent Lines of Business?geospatial and budget formulation.

These new LOBs are "not solely about technology, it's about changing the way the government performs these functions," said Tim Young, associate administrator of e-government and IT.

Young and a host of OMB, GSA, and other government officials held two practioners' days in Washington yesterday on the recent requests for information for the geospatial and budget formulation and execution Lines of Business. The government will hold another workshop today on the IT infrastructure LOB, also in Washington.

All three new LOBs were proposed in the president's fiscal 2007 budget request earlier this year.

The budget LOB would give agencies a more coordinated approach to producing the budget, exchanging data, enhancing budget and performance integration, and promoting collaboration on these activities. The geospatial LOB will look to identify opportunities to consolidate investments; analyze cost benefits, alternatives and risks; and define roles, responsibilities, performance measures and milestones.

At yesterday's events, government officials could provide few specifics about how the LOBs will take shape, saying instead that the responses to the RFIs will determine where the process goes.

"The reason we're here is because we need your help," Von Harrison, GSA LOB program manager, told the gathering of industry, government and non-profit stakeholders.

But with an admittedly tight and aggressive schedule?responses to the RFI are due May 5?Harrison and the panel warned interested bidders that this is their best chance to offer their comments.

Once the responses are in, task forces for both LOBs will analyze the results and propose common solutions by early June, Harrison said. At that point, a joint business case will be made to OMB in August, with OMB formally submitting the case for inclusion in the president's fiscal 2008 budget in September.

"This is your opportunity to supply input," Harrison said.

And just want kind of input does the government want? For one, steer clear of any marketing materials, Young and the panel warned. This isn't about products and services; this is about change, they said.

"This is an attempt to really change the way we do business," said Ivan DeLoatch, staff director of the Federal Geographic Data Committee within the Interior Department's US Geological Survey. DeLoatch is also the managing partner for the geospatial LOB.

Also, don't shy away from providing information about best and, importantly, worst practices for each LOB.

"Think big, propose big ideas," Young said. "Let's hear where you failed so we don't replicate that going forward."

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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