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Interior Department To Save $500M Consolidating IT

Staff reductions, data-center consolidation, and cutting back on office space are aspects of a five-year plan to streamline operations.

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Federal agencies have been taking steps to make their IT departments run more efficiently and cost-effectively by consolidating data centers, using cloud technologies, and other efforts through a mandate from U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is overseeing.

On Thursday Kundra outlined a 25-point execution plan for the IT reform already in motion. In a press conference, he praised Department of Interior as one the agencies following one of the White House recommendations for reform -- to adopt lightweight technologies -- as part of the department's data-center consolidation strategy.

"We want to recognize the great leadership Interior is providing," he said.

Indeed, the department does seem to be taking an innovative approach to the changes it's making to IT operations, at least in terms of funding. The department said it plans to self-fund consolidation by redirecting savings from initial stages of the plan to the later stages, which will eliminate the need for any external funding for its effort.

The department expects cost savings of $100 million per year in the five years following consolidation, between 2016 and 2020. Once operational and data-center consolidation is complete, officials will then direct savings to IT tasks, including the modernization of legacy applications, some of which are decades old, the department said.

Other modernization efforts will include more technology standardization, adopting common enterprise services, and simplifying business processes across common lines of business, the department said. Savings also will be used to address security needs and radio communications.

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