For summer, OMB puts agencies on a business case diet

The Office of Management and Budget is asking agencies to slim down the volume of material they submit with their annual IT budget proposals.

For the fiscal 2005 submissions due Sept. 8, OMB last week told agencies to merge requests for back-room IT projects rather than provide numerous separate proposals and business cases.

OMB director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. directed agencies to figure out how the projects fit together and present three business cases, one each for office automation, infrastructure and telecommunications.

In a memo to agency executives Friday, Daniels said these functions demand agencywide coordination.

'In the past, agencies submitted multiple business cases in these areas, and OMB was left with the task of putting the pieces together and comparing the proposed investments with the agencies modernization blueprints,' said Debra Stouffer, former chief technology officer at the Environmental Protection Agency. 'This guidance shifts the burden of developing a complete inventory of proposed investments in these three areas, and articulating how the proposed investments fit within the agency modernization blueprint.'

Stouffer, vice president of strategic consulting at DigitalNet Government Solutions Inc. of Herndon, Va., said agencies could benefit from this approach because it gives all organizations within an agency visibility in the enterprise.

Daniels also re-emphasized the need for agencies to provide resources for OMB's 25 e-government projects. He said each agency 'must contribute' to the projects as outlined in the fiscal 2004 budget.(Click here for related story)

'OMB will provide each agency's funding or other resource requirements for participation in the presidential e-gov projects, consistent with requirements under the E-Government Act of 2002,' he said.

Daniels also reminded agencies to focus on the nearly 700 projects on OMB's at-risk list by solving project management and security problems.

Additionally, OMB will require agencies to submit budgets that align resources with performance measures. Agencies must incorporate their Government Performance and Results Act plans into their requests rather submit separate reports.

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