US puts $30bn of IT projects up for review
The stimulus and the stick
President Obama giveth to the IT vendor community in the United States, and now maybe he is fixing to taketh away.
Back in February 2009, when the new president was able to get the $787bn American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) through Congress to help get the US economy
spending like the economic meltdown wasn't real back on track, over $100bn of that spending would end up in the pockets of the technology sector.
In June of this year, with the stimulus party over, President Obama's Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, put about $3bn of IT projects on hold as they were reviewed for delays and cost overruns. Last week, Federal Computing Week reported that the Kundra has compiled a list of "high-risk" IT projects that are over budget, behind schedule, or have veered off course. Kundra was speaking at the NASA IT Summit in Maryland when he mentioned the IT hit list.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the hit list of 26 federal IT projects has a combined value of $30bn, according to the Office of Management and Budget. This includes a $2.8bn computer and telecommunications network for the Treasury Department, a $2bn logistics system for the Air Force, a $7.6bn data center consolidation project for the Department of the Interior, and a $557m case management system called Sentinel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Instead of killing the projects, Kundra and his team are trying to figure out how to make projects more bite-sized, manageable, and accountable.
"Each of these projects can be scoped in smaller chunks," Vivek told the Journal. "We've overcomplicated how we buy technology in the federal government."
Kundra came to the Federal CIO job in March 2009 after running the IT operations of the city of Washington DC. He is keen on making Uncle Sam use as much shared, cloudy infrastructure as is practical and to make the $80bn a year that the US government spends on IT go further and move faster. ®
Sounds like a fund-raising move for the November elections
When businesses face the challenge of remaining with their snouts in the U.S. Federal government they reach for their elected congressional representatives.
The best way to attract a politicians is MONEY and given this is a mid-term election period, and Democrats are facing challenges so what better combination exists?
Send the cheques in, guys, and all will be well!
Kundra from DC? ... Wasn't he involved in an FBI raid?...
Why, yes he was! (http://www.cio.com/article/484265/FBI_Raids_Washington_D.C._CTO_Office_of_Vivek_Kundra_Obama_s_New_CIO).
Well then, I guess we KNOW this will be a well done project.
As to the funding level and whether or not they can be accomplished, John Smith 19's first five points nail a number of issue. The bits about the contractor size, not so much especially with the current employment retention rules. The reality is that the skill levels of both the Federal and the contracting staff vary just as much. The large contracts are purely a budgeting technique. They are intended to provide some flexibility in contracting. Running through a 6-month budget proposal cycle for any given small project to meet contracting guidelines itself adds tremendously to the cost of each contract. The large companies also can't go it alone, so they need to partner with smaller companies to do the job. Set asides for the various 8a categories, small businesses, economic development zones, etc guarantees that one of the major headaches for whoever wins the contract is making sure they have all THOSE ducks lined up as opposed to whether or not what their line people are proposing are good technical solutions let alone whether or not the good technical solution is appropriate to the business/government issue it is intended to address.
Why do I know all this? I work for a small contract who's a sub to a big contractor at a government agency. The contract under which my company has been working is not being re-competed because it is going to be subsumed under one of those new big vehicles. Or maybe not. The developing story has changed three times in as many weeks. Regardless of whether or not my company is one of the winners on the big contract, whoever wins will have to offer me a job with them. I also know that a major project that was supposed to be under way for our agency has just been put on indefinite hold/canceled and that a new solution is being sought. Rumor is instead of an internally supported system the new specs and the new contract will be in the cloud. I know more and more people are getting comfortable with that, but I really prefer my data and mail to be on servers under the control of the agency. Or at least as under control as it can get when there are more chefs in the kitchen than customers in the cafe.
<quote>President Obama giveth to the IT vendor community in the United States, and now maybe he is fixing to taketh away.</quote>
Argh! If you can't use archaic syntax properly, stay away from it. ...eth is typically a suffix for third person singular present tense. Thus, "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away". You can't stick 'eth' onto the end of the infinitive 'to take'.
If thou must purvey cod Elizabethan English, thou shouldst have written:
"President Obama giveth to the IT Vendor Community in the United States, and now maybe he fixeth to take away."
Capitalising nouns merely giveth a nice Olde Worlde feel to the typography, innit.