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3/6/2012
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Feds Update IT Dashboard To Reduce Errors, Duplication

White House updates IT investment open-data site to include new accessibility features.

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The White House has updated its open-data site for federal IT investments in an effort to make it more accessible and less repetitive as well as improve its data quality.

A new release of the IT Dashboard provides new links, visualizations, data, and tools to help visitors better understand and analyze data on the site, according to a White House blog post by U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel. It also includes the IT chapter of the president's fiscal year 2013 budget as well as the budget's report on IT spending.

The Obama administration first launched the IT Dashboard in 2009 as part of a broad transparency effort to give both the public and agencies more insight into where the feds are spending IT investment money.

The site includes information on more than 700 IT investments to help make agencies accountable for staying on budget and on time, and to help them identify projects that just aren't working.

While the site has helped the feds assess projects and identify flailing ones, it's also been the subject of criticism. The Government Accountability Office has criticized the IT Dashboard in the past for providing inaccurate data about the cost and scheduling of IT projects.

[ Is there cause for optimism when it comes to more agile government IT? Read more at Agile Government: Elusive, But Not Impossible (Really). ]

Some of the updates should help correct those inaccuracies, according to VanRoekel. The site now includes improved validations and warnings to agencies to prevent erroneous data from being entered into the system, he said. It also includes new data-quality reporting that will help agencies identify where existing data can be improved.

The site also provides new data on what kind of services each investment provides, to help agencies identify duplication in IT investments. Users can combine this data with other data from the dashboard to categorize IT portfolios by agency, bureau, type of business supported, type of service provided, and budget account.

On the accessibility front, the dashboard now includes access to individual projects and various activities that go along with them, as well as links between investments and their sources of funding, to give a clearer picture of where the money is coming from, according to VanRoekel.

Finally, the feds have updated the site to include more data sets and tools for building third-party applications from information on the site. For example, the performance history and trend of each IT project is now available as its own data feed, which will allow developers to embed charts of an investment's history directly into news articles, blogs, or interactive visualizations.

InformationWeek's 2012 Government IT Innovators program will feature the most innovative government IT organizations in the 2012 InformationWeek 500 issue and on InformationWeek.com. Does your organization have what it takes? The nomination period for 2012 Government IT Innovators closes April 27.

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User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2012 | 4:10:31 AM
re: Feds Update IT Dashboard To Reduce Errors, Duplication
For such a large, complex organization, they need to do everything they can to consolidate IT infrastructure. We're glad they're looking into more efficient ways to do things seeing as it will help reduce operating costs and hopefully help with the national debt in the long run
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