In 2010, the government turned to technology as a way to cut costs and improve efficiencies, an approach that worked in some cases but backfired in others. Like their associates in the public sector, government executives and IT professionals saw some big wins -- and headaches -- over the past 12 months. In some cases, cities or agencies were able to save money and boost productivity by adopting technologies such as cloud computing, by centralizing contracts, and reducing energy consumption thro
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In June, President Obama and the Office of Management and Budget ordered the consolidation of federal data centers, a step that will go toward the government's goal of shaving $3 billion in costs by 2015. "For example, over the past decade, the private sector reduced its data center footprint by capitalizing on innovative technologies to increase efficiencies. However, during that same period, the Federal Government experienced a substantial surge in the number of data centers, leading to increased energy consumption, real property expenditures, and operations and maintenance costs," the memo said. The move could enable the government to sell buildings, reduce energy consumption, cut back on maintenance and equipment costs, and save on overhead, according to the memo.
The data-consolidation trend apparently is spreading from the top. Championed by President Barack Obama, federal civilian IT managers estimate they can achieve almost a 45% reduction in data centers over the next five years, according to MeriTalk. Yet, although of those polled already have taken steps to achieving this goal, fewer than one-third of respondents met the Office of Management and Budget's August 30 deadline to submit finalized data consolidation plans, MeriTalk found. Spending overall increased a little compared with slow-moving 2009, according to Gartner. Local and regional government spending was expected to grow 1.7% in 2010, the market research firm said in August. The national and international government market was predicted to increase 4%, Gartner said. The government allows citizens, agencies, government officials, and others to track its spending via the Web, using the Federal IT Dashboard. However, some published reports complain that some of the site's milestones are out-of-date and the information is not always complete.