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8/26/2011
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Online Tool Grades Feds On Efficiency

Performance.gov site tracks the Obama administration's effort to create a more efficient and responsive federal government.

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The White House has launched a new online dashboard aimed providing transparency about the Obama administration's efforts to improve the overall performance and effectiveness of the federal government.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has said for some time it would launch Performance.gov to help people keep track of federal efficiency and improvement efforts, as well as allow agencies to work together on them. However, budget cuts delayed its launch. This week Jeff Zients, Obama's chief performance office introduced the site, which went live Thursday, in a White House blog post.

"Performance.gov tracks our progress on the Administration's efforts to create a government that is more effective, efficient, and responsive," according to Zients. He said the site also will allow agencies to share best practices and coordinate efforts to achieve better overall performance.

The new dashboard is in line with Obama's Campaign to Cut Waste, an effort launched in June to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful spending across the government. Ironically, that campaign called for a freeze on the creation of new websites and a 50% cut in existing sites over the next year, but Performance.gov obviously was an exception to this rule.

The Obama administration is in the middle of a host of IT reform efforts to streamline how the feds use technology. Part of that move is to hold agencies' feet to the fire and make CIOs more accountable for reform.

Performance.gov will allow people to do this by tracking progress of some of those moves, including a broad effort to consolidate data centers; the feds' goal to leverage cloud computing to improve efficiencies and save money; and changes being made to better manage IT projects, Zients said.

The site features eight areas of focus that people can browse to view metrics on various government efforts: acquisition, financial management, human resources, technology, performance improvement, open government, sustainability, and customer service.

All of the areas already have metrics and information posted except the last three, which will soon be added, according to the site. For instance, the Technology section includes metrics and information about effectively managing large-scale IT projects and achieving operational efficiency. The sections also include links to other federal transparency sites, such as the Federal IT Dashboard.

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