The recently released Federal Information Technology Shared Services Strategy provides organizations in the Executive Branch of the U.S. federal government with policy guidance on the full range and lifecycle of intra- and inter-agency information technology (IT) shared services, which enable mission, administrative, and infrastructure-related IT functions. "This strategy is part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, which seeks to increase return on investment, eliminate waste and duplication, and improve the effectiveness of IT solutions. Commonly referred to as 'Shared-First', this strategy requires agencies to use a shared approach to IT service delivery."
There are nearly 300 organizations in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government that employ more than 2.6 million people and operate over 10,000 IT systems. These organizations provide a myriad of manual and online services to customer groups that include citizens, industry, and other government agencies at the federal, state, local, tribal, and international levels. Moreover, annual spending on IT by these organizations has increased steadily over the past decade to nearly $80 billion.
Given current fiscal constraints, increasing mission requirements, rising customer expectations, and the ever-evolving landscape of IT, the strategy states that Federal Agencies must learn to innovate with less. This means that they must:
To be successful in resource-constrained operating environments, Federal Agencies must also eliminate wasteful spending that result from implementing duplicative solutions for mission, support, and commodity IT functions.
In 2011, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified 34 areas where Federal Agencies provide similar services to the same customer groups within and outside of government, with billions of dollars in potential savings if these services were reconciled, consolidated, and moved to a shared delivery model.
|IT Shared Services - An information technology function that is provided for consumption by multiple organizations within or between Federal Agencies.|
The Chief Information Officers (CIO) of federal agencies must work with other agency executives and provide leadership for the 'Shared-First' effort, using a cross-organizational perspective to identify opportunities for the consolidation of redundant mission, support, and commodity IT services at all levels, in all federal sector 'lines of business.'
It appears that collaboration, open solutions, and innovation (COSI) are some of the key strategies emphasized as the government moves toward more 'shared services'. The COSI Open Government and COSI Open Health web sites might be useful resources to federal managers as they begin pursuing and implementing 'shared service' initiatives.
The Federal IT Shared Services Strategy concludes stating, "By August 31, 2012, Federal Agencies must submit to OMB an Enterprise Roadmap for the FY 2012-2015 timeframe that includes a business and technology architecture, IT asset inventory, PortfolioStat results, and IT Shared Services Plan."