Federal IT Dashboard Goes Open Source

Last week the White House and the Federal CIO announced that the source code of the cost-saving IT Dashboard has been made available to the public and other government agencies. This first open source release will serve as a starting point for communities of interest to adapt the code to their own needs and develop unique versions of the Dashboard. This development is the latest in a growing movement to cut government IT spending by sharing reusable technology, thereby reducing redundant development costs and encouraging cooperation between multiple branches and levels of government

Launched in 2009, the Federal IT Dashboard has been one of the most widely-recognized government transparency initiatives. The Dashboard allows the public to track details of federal IT spending, status and ROI on major IT projects. The government uses the dashboard to evaluate project effectiveness in an effort to better manage the $70 billion annual IT budget. A recent OMB report, cited the dashboard as amajor component in the process used to save over $3 billion in its first two years of deployment.

By showing the American people how and where the government spends their money on information technology, the IT Dashboard empowers the public as a stakeholder in managing Federal IT investments. Moving these data into public view and displaying them on a common platform, agencies are incentivized to report high-quality and timely data. Data quality should get even better as individual agencies adapt the dashboard for their own management needs. And because this platform serves as the authoritative source for IT performance reporting across the government, it provides context for everyone and draws clear lines of expectations and accountability.

Some of the additional features of the IT Dashboard in the pipeline include:

  • Earned Value Management (EVM) analysis for investments where applicable, as additional data are provided by agencies
  • Additional features for filtering and aggregating data
  • Historical performance of major investments over time
  • Agency-generated content, such as widgets or mash-ups using IT Dashboard data
  • Personal portfolios: create your own portfolio of investments to watch and subscribe to updates to these investments
  • New data elements to be used for more advanced investment analysis
  • More detailed contracts data: linking more investment data to awarded contracts

The federal government has long participated in the open source community through direct involvement from individual agencies. It is always good to see more participation. Now that these visualizations are up and agencies are getting into a rhythm of support, it should be easy to continue to provide this information to the public.

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