Federal CIO Council's Committee On Capital Planning and IT Investment Hosts Government/Industry Forum
April 9, 1997
Contact: Bill Bearden
The Federal Chief Information Officer Council's committee on Capital Planning and IT Investment hosted a government and industry technology leaders forum April 2 on harnessing the government's multi-billion-dollar-a-year investment in information technology.
The committee, chaired by General Service Administration's CIO Joe Thompson, brought together more than 90 participants from 25 Federal agencies and 12 private sector organizations to discuss public and private-sector perspectives on capital planning, information investment strategies, and performance measurement.
The importance of information technology and the way it is managed was given prominence this past February with the passing of the Information Technology Reform Act. GSA Acting Administrator David J. Barram told the forum that this new prominence represents "a crossroads and a very unusual convergence, and now is the time to get moving." Barram said that we all must be smart about how we use the taxpayer's capital and the limited dollars we have. "The government is investing $25 billion a year on IT," Barram said, "and that money should be spent on the things that pay us back in results and that drive our business mission. The two keys to doing that are measurement and involvement."
The forum highlighted GSA's experiences in piloting the capital planning process and developing agency-wide technology solutions. Barram emphasized the importance of "measuring results of technology, not just the technology itself."
At GSA, every technology investment is now being scrutinized by a high-level Business Technology Council to determine whether it meets GSA's business objectives, adds to the infrastructure, and gives the agency a competitive advantage in service delivery.
"CIOs have been in the private sector three to five years but in the Federal government only the past year," GSA's CIO Thompson said. "All the legislation is new. Our processes are new. And we're really indebted to industry for helping us understand this process."
Thompson and other speakers emphasized the importance of senior leadership participation in the capital planning process and the role of management issues, not simply technology issues in the success of the government's large systems.
The forum also marked the formal release of two important new publications: OMB's Capital Programming Guide and GSA's Capital Planning Guide, one of the first to be prepared by a Federal CIO office.
In addition to planning events like this forum the Federal CIO Council's Capital Planning and IT investment committee is working with seven agency pilot projects, with private industry and continuing to develop more investment analysis materials. The seven agencies participating in pilots are: GSA, State, Agriculture, HUD, Coast Guard, Energy and EPA.
For copies of GSA's Capital Planning Guide, contact John C. Thomas on 501-0306.
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