The Obama administration is under tremendous pressure to make government more effective and efficient–but not spend money to make it happen. Tough job. It’s even tougher when you consider that the White House needs to cut the federal deficit even while improving America’s competitiveness.
But a proposal released today by leaders in the tech industry could make the task a bit easier. The Technology CEO Council, which includes the chief executives of IBM, Intel, Dell, EMC, Motorola and other companies, laid out recommendations aimed at saving the federal government $1 trillion over a 10-year period. One of the most attractive aspects of the proposal is that it doesn’t require a lot of up-front investments to produce sustainable, long-term gains.
The recommendations include reducing energy use in data centers, consolidating facilities, streamlining supply chains, sharing administrative systems, shifting from staff-heavy systems to electronic self-service, and using analytic tools to ferret out waste and fraud. Here’s a link to the New York Times story about the proposal.
Every new US administration launches an efficiency program, and President Obama’s is no exception. Federal chief performance officer Jeff Zients (now the acting head of the Office of Management and Budget) is aggressively searching for smart ways to cut costs. And CIO Vivek Kundra, who works for Zients, is consolidating data centers and shifting some software applications to more efficient cloud computing models. Hopefully, this encouragement from the tech industry will help them get stuff done. Zients responded immediately with this blog post, Seeing Eye to Eye with the Tech Council.
The 12-page TCC report is peppered with specifics aimed at helping government agencies do more with less. Motorola, for instance, saves about $1.2 billion a year as a result of integrating its supply chains. “Most of these won’t require big investments,” says Jonathan D. Breul, executive director of the IBM Center for The Business of Government and a former Office of Management and Budget senior adviser. “A lot of it is management discipline. A lot of money is being spent needlessly. It’s a matter of redirecting it to activities that will save money.”
As IBM and Dell CEOs Sam Palmisano and Michael Dell laid out today in Politico, there are plenty of examples of how this can work from governments across the country. For instance, by using predictive technology, New York State is validating tax refund requests, saving $889 million by catching improper refunds.
It’s going to take a lot of this kind of innovative thinking to solve the federal government’s money problems. Today’s announcement looks like it could help get the creative juices flowing.
Do you have any novel ideas for making government more efficient? Any new business models that would minimize technology costs for government agencies?