Written by Tod Tompkins
I recently read an article from John Foley of InformationWeek Government that called for government to provide “better, more concrete numbers on savings and returns” – what a novel idea! Foley calls for the establishment of an IT Savings and ROI Dashboard, similar to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) acclaimed IT Dashboard, which would “reflect efficiency gains by agency and over the course of years.” I love it. The only thing wrong with this idea is that I did not come up with it myself. I encourage you to read the article.
The concept of Foley’s IT Savings Dashboard is to provide greater insight into where government funds are actually going, increasing transparency to the citizen. Foley asks: “Are costs squeezed in one area being reinvested in another? Or are they being returned to taxpayers in the form of reduced spending?” The dashboard would also allow the government to get “a better handle on where the savings will come from and how they add up.” Why not take that one step further? Why not leverage that information to prioritize activities by near-term vs. longer-term savings potential, and focus on executing those activities that will help cut the budget today?
By now we all know that agencies need to cut $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. We should also all know that other unforeseen future factors – inflation, war requirements, monetary aid and the like – can quickly and easily derail any planned future savings. Let’s make year one, two, or three cost-cutting initiatives the priority, then. Let’s get that $1.2 trillion down as soon as possible, before the next incident occurs that requires significant – and unforeseen – federal funding.