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CIO-CFO collaboration critical for advancing U.S. federal IT

Kenneth Corbin | June 5, 2014
As the federal government look to cut IT costs, drive efficiencies and advance objectives, department CIOs and CFOs are urged to break down siloes within and among agencies. One idea: Eliminate multiple contracts for services that all government departments use.

To that end, in December 2012 OMB established the Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council, a cross-agency panel charged with identifying ways to cut spending and lower total cost of ownership while improving services. Part of that effort includes more sophisticated vendor evaluations to help officials identify which providers are delivering the best value for the government.

"We have to assess how contractors are doing," Field said, noting that OMB intends to push out new guidelines in the next couple weeks that will expand the data collection and reporting on vendor performance.

Other panelists pointed to the more nebulous but equally daunting challenge of reforming the culture throughout the ranks of the government to create a more flexible and risk-tolerant IT environment.

Collaboration can help there, too, according to Kathryn Stack, deputy associate director at OMB. Too often, she hears stories about tech workers complaining that OMB or their agency CFO has in place strict rules that prevent them from even considering certain projects that could advance mission outcomes.

"Well, not really," Stack said. "In fact, there's tons of flexibility in government. Under OMB circulars, there are many things that can be waived."


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