IT business case guidance likely to remain same for '06

Agencies preparing their IT business cases for the fiscal 2006 budget request likely will not have to deal with new requirements.

The CIO Council recommended to Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and IT, that OMB Circular A-11, which lays out the process for writing a business case, remain unchanged from 2005.

Evans passed this recommendation to OMB director Joshua B. Bolten for final approval. Customarily, OMB issues draft A-11 guidance in the spring but does not come out with a final directive until August.

'We are not planning any major modifications this year, so the business cases will be consistent for successive years,' Evans said. 'This will give the system stability, and we can focus on the quality of data.'

Evans said OMB has improved the A-11 process over the past three years, but now agencies need to focus on portfolio management. She added that she didn't want agencies to go 'through the motions and check off the boxes' for business cases.

'A lot of times if you change the questions and then try to do a straight-up analysis, it becomes difficult,' she said. 'This year we can compare data field to data field, which will help speed up our analyses and help us make better business recommendations.'

Evans said having consistent data will lead to a more substantive discussion between OMB and the agencies about IT projects and how they affect the agency's business operations.

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