Federal CIO Launches IT Spending Site Built For Sharing - InformationWeek
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Federal CIO Launches IT Spending Site Built For Sharing

To promote greater government transparency and public access to information, US CIO Vivek Kundra has launched a new Web site for tracking spending on government IT projects.

At the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City on Tuesday, the federal government's recently appointed CIO Vivek Kundra announced the launch of USAspending.gov, a federal IT spending Web site that allows anyone to track federal IT contracting dollars and grants.

The site was developed to comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, a law that requires public organizations to disclose receipt of federal funds.

As a senator, Barack Obama was one of the sponsors of the bill; as President, he has continued to support the principle of greater government transparency, with some notable exceptions like White House visitor records.

USAspending.gov follows in the footsteps of Data.gov, a site launched by Kundra in May to provide greater access to government datasets from the gamut of federal agencies.

Data, said Kundra in a press statement, enables monitoring, reporting, and meaningful analysis that leads to better decisions. Noting the absence of data on IT project performance, he characterized USAspending.gov as a tool to inform the public about its government and a tool to help the government make better choices.

The Web site provides an unprecedented overview of federal IT spending. Using the performance and investments dashboards, anyone can assess the effectiveness of government IT projects.

Across the entire federal government's $38.6 billion FY2009 IT spending on major investments, for example, the site's data shows that 9% of investments (71) show "significant concerns" over cost and 17% of investments (135) "need attention."

The site also provides an analysis tool that displays a visual representation of IT spending by agency over time.

What makes USAspending.gov particularly interesting is the extent to which it embraces the conventions of social media. Each chat page includes a sharing link for referencing the chart URL, embedding the chart in a Web page, or publishing the chart via Facebook, Twitter, or Del.icio.us. Chart data is also available in the CSV format or as an RSS feed.

• An embedded chart from USAspending.gov:

All Agencies Major Investments: 781 Spending on Major Investments: $38.6 B (FY 2009)

InformationWeek Analytics has published an analysis of why automation is good for IT. Download the report here (registration required).

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