Federal agencies will have a new tool to help them reduce information technology (IT) costs and find and eliminate waste and duplication in their IT services.  The “Federal IT Shared Services Strategy,” released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week, aims to “maximize the return on IT investments” by consolidating information technology (IT) systems, services, and related contracts. 

According to Steven VanRoekel, the government’s top Chief Information Officer (CIO), this “Shared-First” strategy “promotes the use of existing and new strategic sourcing methods where agencies can combine their buying power for similar IT needs and get lower prices.”

The strategy, is an important component of  OMB’s 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, issued in 2010, to get more from the government’s IT investment while eliminating waste and duplication. 

OMB asserts the “Shared-First” strategy will promote the widespread use of shared IT services that “will help create a Federal Government that is leaner, more agile, and more efficient.”  To achieve this, agencies are directed to focus on: 1) instituting a Shared-First culture by moving to an “integrated mix” of shared IT services throughout the agency; 2) consolidating commodity IT to reallocate funding to higher priority needs; and 3) utilizing “shared service business models” from both the public and private sectors.

OMB directs each agency to implement two shared IT services by the end of 2012.  To qualify, the IT service had to have been in the concept, planning, or requirements phase by March 1, 2012.

By August 2012, agencies (and their managing partners) are required to submit an Enterprise Roadmap for FY2012-15 that includes: 1) a description of the business objectives and enabling IT capabilities; 2) an IT asset inventory list that comprises all IT systems, support services, and commodity IT programs; 3) a commodity IT consolidation plan; and 4) a line of business service plan that addresses quality and shared services. 

In April 2013, each agency will update its Enterprise Roadmap.  The update will include an appendix that identifies the intra-agency IT shared services to be used or consumed during FY2013-17 and two other areas the agency will move to the shared services model by December 31, 2012.