A New Look at How Federal IT Reform is Faring in 5 Charts

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The new data measure the extent to which agency IT projects stay within budget and on schedule and the average time it takes to deliver key phases of a project.

The Obama administration released new data this week on how federal IT projects are performing.

The data measure the extent to which agency IT projects stay within budget and on schedule and the average time it takes to deliver key phases of a project.

The information, posted to the online IT Dashboard , has previously only been used “in internal discussions with agencies,” according to a post on CIO.gov .

“Publicly sharing these performance metrics on the IT Dashboard will allow anyone who is interested to more accurately track the progress being made in federal IT at agencies and across the entire federal government,” the post stated.

Still, it should be noted, the IT Dashboard has come under scrutiny for the accuracy of some of the information posted there. Earlier this week, the two top senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wrote to the chief information officer of the Treasury Department to inquire about potential inaccuracies in some of the data posted there.

IT Spending -- Cloud on the Rise?

The new data provides a snapshot of agency IT spending broken down by legacy spending (operations and maintenance) versus new spending (development, modernization and enhancement) as well as agencies’ spending on cloud services (provisioned services).

Among the selected agencies, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is planning to spend the biggest chunk of its budget -- 35 percent -- on cloud services. The Labor Department is planning to spend 30 percent of its budget on so-called provisioned services.

State is among the agencies spending the least on new initiatives this year. About 90 percent of its IT budget this year is slated for legacy systems.

On Budget?

All told, 78 percent of all federal IT projects deliver on budget, which the government defines as being within 10 percent of original budgeted costs.

Among cabinet-level agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs lags behind, with only about half of its projects on budget. The National Science Foundation was the top finisher, with 97 percent of projects staying within 10 percent of cost estimates.

On Schedule?

Overall, 79 percent of agency IT projects are completed on time.

Among cabinet-level agencies, the Agriculture Department was the least likely to complete a project on time -- 62 percent -- followed by State -- at 65 percent.

NSF, according to the data, completed 100 percent of projects on time.

On-Time Delivery?

When agencies embark on big-ticket IT projects, how soon is it before they can provide “key deliverables, usable functionality” or even just an “iterative release”?

On average, it takes about six months (181 days) for agencies to start delivering on those key activities. For the Defense Department, that stretches to more than a year -- 416 days. USDA has the quickest turn-around time -- 84 days.

Data Center Goal: Double Closures in 2015


The federal government has also made a big push to close unnecessary energy-guzzling data centers and optimize and modernize the ones that remain. So far, agencies have shuttered 1,235 data centers with plans to close more than 2,500 total by the end of the fiscal year.

( Image via Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock.com )