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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Tech leaders push ideas for saving $1T. Will anyone listen?

The Technology CEO Council’s report to President-elect Trump on $1 trillion in savings from improved government operations through technology gave me a sense of déjà vu.

A trillion dollars over 10 years? Hmmm, where have I heard that before? It didn’t take long to find a story I wrote in 2012 when the Tech CEO Council presented a report to President Obama touting $1 trillion in savings by 2020.

My original plan was to do a snarky side-by-side comparison and accuse the council of trotting out an old report with new headers.

But other than the promise of $1 trillion in savings, the reports and the recommendations have some notable differences. A lot of it has to do with how much technology has changed in five years.

The 2012 report talks a lot about savings from virtualization and data center consolidation as well as monetizing government assets and more online government services. The new report touts big analytics and cognitive computing, cyber and mobile.

Both reports talk about improving the supply chain and acquisitions as well as shared services, energy efficiency and using technology to fight fraud.

The clear message in the commonalities of the reports is that people should know by now where savings and efficiencies can be found. There is still a lot of work that can be done around shared services, IT modernization and improving the supply chain.

In both reports, the supply chain has the most potential for savings.

The Tech CEO Council isn’t the only group that issues these kinds of reports. Groups publish recommendations and pretty reports and then they gather dust.

So I asked the council, did anything happen with the 2012 report? I didn’t expect much of an answer to be honest.

The group’s spokeswoman pointed to a Government Accountability Report that says that data center consolidation will save $5 billion over the next five years. She also said that 26 agencies payroll systems have been trimmed down to four payroll shared services centers. Ongoing savings is $184 million a year.

A third example, she provided is that the Social Security Administration has moved 54 percent of its applications online and had 87 million self-service transactions online. That helped them reduce field office space by 1.3 million square feet. The goal for 2017 is 137 million transactions online.

Now, it is probably a stretch to think these agencies read the 2012 report and thought, "Wow, I never thought of that! Let’s consolidate our data centers!"

The Tech CEO Council is one voice among many, but the ideas they are pushing have merit. The $1 trillion is a lofty goal, but it is something worth shooting for. The potential is there.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 12, 2017 at 9:37 AM

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