Kudos to OMB and Federal agencies for completing the ratings of 100% of their major IT investments, which by the way was no small undertaking . So we now have a complete and well presented view via the Federal IT Dashboard (http://it.usaspending.gov/) of how well our “major” Federal IT investments are adhering to cost, schedule and various risk (via the Evaluation Factors) metrics. Assuming the data is and remains accurate and current (and sure, why not ;-), we have a pretty good picture of the Investment side of the ROI equation.
As OMB seeks to continually improve reporting via the IT Dashboard and facilitate effective management of our Federal IT systems, I’m hopeful that OMB’s next step will be to focus on the Return side of the equation. After all, we don’t create and manage projects simply to have them completed on time and budge. While some investments are still under initial development and thus have not yet had the opportunity to produce a return, many of the “majors” are in the Operations and Maintenance phase where they should be delivering value (return) to their end users.
Measuring return, especially in the Federal government where not all benefits can be monetized, can be difficult, but there are ways that this can be achieved. For starters, a simple measure of customer satisfaction might be an informative addition to the Federal IT Dashboard.