CIOs: Use It, Or Lose It - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
8/22/2007
01:57 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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CIOs: Use It, Or Lose It

Do you rush to spend up your IT budget before the fiscal year runs out? That's certainly an interesting way to look at the budgeting process.

Do you rush to spend up your IT budget before the fiscal year runs out? That's certainly an interesting way to look at the budgeting process.According to a recent study by INPUT, a research firm that tracks government technology spending, over $20 billion will be spent on IT by federal government agencies in the last quarter of the fed's fiscal year, which ends September 30. That's more than 33% of the total federal IT spend for fiscal 2007, said INPUT.

"The spending among the ten agencies with the largest IT budgets alone could translate into roughly $17 billion," said John Slye, manager, federal industry analysis for INPUT, in a statement.

Over the last decade there's been a consistent move toward federal agencies spending 30% or more of their annual IT budgets in the final quarter of the fiscal year, Slye said. The resason: The common belief that agencies not spending their full budgets receive less funding in the future. "We've also seen an impact from the recent history of delayed appropriations bills forcing agencies to spend their budgets in a narrower window of time," Slye added.

That's an interesting budgeting concept: Use it, or lose it. Did the fed CIOs ever hear of another fiscal concept: coming in UNDER budget? To say nothing of the project management implications of that rush-to-spend philosophy, which would almost dictate an opportunist mentality on both sides of the user/vendor equation.

But then, maybe things are different over in the government sector. Maybe they look at their IT budgets more like an allowance that has to be spent up before the next allowance comes along, rather than a responsible partnership between the people appropriating the money and the people spending the money.

Come to think of it, aren't I one of the people appropriating that money, in the form of my tax dollars? What if I insist that the feds show more responsibility regarding their IT spending --- or I'll cut off their allowance?

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