IT Capital Planning gets a facelift

Some of my former students might remember the dreaded Exhibit 300B from my IT Strategy class at American University as well as from their own submissions in the US government’s IT Capital Planning process.  Turns out there are some good uses for all that excruciatingly detailed information:

The IT Dashboard provides the public with an online window into the details of Federal information technology investments and provides users with the ability to track the progress of investments over time. The IT Dashboard displays data received from agency reports to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), including general information on over 7,000 Federal IT investments and detailed data for nearly 800 of those investments that agencies classify as “major.” The performance data used to track the 800 major IT investments is based on milestone information displayed in agency reports to OMB called “Exhibit 300s.” Agency CIOs are responsible for evaluating and updating select data on a monthly basis, which is accomplished through interfaces provided on the website.

A little added texture–as mentioned above, “investment” here is primarily capex with some opex thrown in; it’s generally a measure of IT spend per agency.  The term “investment” was enshrined in the Clinger-Cohen Act, most likely to get away from an impression of big government spending.

The Exhibit 300B (from Clinger-Cohen) and reporting requirements in areas such as enterprise architecture, e-government, paperwork reduction/elimination, use of e-signatures, etc. produce a lot of data from each agency, most of which rolls up to OMB.

The IT Dashboard is a good way to communicate value to constituents while demonstrating to federal agencies why the data are required.  There are bound to be errors and omissions, but this is a healthy step forward for the IT Capital Planning process.

[FWIW:  If you like visualization, you’ll probably enjoy Flowing Data, one of my daily reads.]

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