The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a video today in conjunction with its first full Committee hearing- Wasting Information Technology Dollars: How Can the Federal Government Reform its IT Investment Strategy? The hearing is at 1 p.m. and can be viewed online here.
"Information technology is at the heart of every federal agency or program's ability to function successfully," said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. "We've built an IT infrastructure that is bloated, inefficient, and actually makes it more difficult for the government to serve its citizens."
The computers and software systems essential to run the federal government are collectively labeled "Information Technology" or IT.
In just the last ten years, government spending on IT has risen from $46 billion in 2001 to approximately $81 billion in 2012. Program failures and cost overruns plague three-quarters of large federal IT programs. Estimates suggest that as much as $20 billion of taxpayer money is wasted each year.
The video uses a cluttered desktop computer setup as a metaphor to explain the complex issue of waste and duplication amongst systems.
A good real world example of IT waste and duplication is the number of common back office support systems in the federal government. In their fiscal year 2011 submissions, agencies reported 622 separate investments totaling $2.4 billion in human resource management systems and 580 investments totaling $2.7 billion in financial management systems.
Considering most back office systems perform similar functions, experts believe there are opportunities to consolidate them into smaller, manageable numbers within each major agency and perhaps even share services across multiple agencies.
In a February 2012 report, the Government Accountability Office produced this graph of the total number of IT investments by primary function reported by 27 key federal agencies.
Chairman Issa has posted a discussion draft of IT reform legislation at http://oversight.house.gov/ITReform.