Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Investing in IT fills the wallet - Politico

Never has it been more vital for the federal government to do more with less. Agencies are busy scouring their budgets for waste and their operations for inefficiencies. So what is the role of information technology in making government work better and more efficiently for America’s families?
We have had amazing success in rooting out waste in technology in the past two years. The administration has slashed costs for planned IT projects by $3 billion while delivering functional services at a much faster rate and embarked on a massive initiative to shut down and consolidate excess data centers. We’re also moving to the cloud and improving IT acquisition practices. And our work in cutting waste is not nearly finished.
Continue Reading It has never been more important to cut costs wisely in a way that allows us to invest in our future and provide our citizens what they need most from government during these trying economic times.
So how do we achieve the seemingly disparate goals of reducing costs yet investing to achieve more? The experience in the private sector over the past couple of decades shows that the right investments in IT spending can yield huge gains in productivity and ultimately reductions in costs in many other areas.
If you just look at IT as optional spending, you are missing an important point: IT is a tool by which you can save other costs. Investing in IT can bring you productivity gains and offset other costs. This allows organizations — private and public — to do what we need most in challenging environments, to do more with less.
Just take the reduction of paper-based processes like the move to electronic transactions at the Treasury Department. For decades, the federal government managed its financial transactions through paper processes that are slow and inefficient. By leveraging technology to do vendor billing and payment transactions electronically, Treasury projects the government will save more than $500 million and eliminate 835 million paper-based transactions in the first five years. This is just one example of how investing correctly in IT can lower friction in the way citizens and businesses interact with government — all while saving money.