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New Federal IT Dashboard Falls Short of Its Aims

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Part of a spreadsheet on datacenters generated by

GSA appears to have tailored the new dashboard to internal OMB or GSA staff engaged in monitoring and reporting activities.


Earlier this month, the General Services Administration (GSA) launched a redesigned Federal IT Dashboard, a website that aims to enable "agencies, [Office of Management and Budget] OMB, Congress, [Government Accountability Office] GAO, and the public to understand the value of their federal IT portfolios, manage the health of their IT investments, and make better IT planning decisions." Initially launched in 2009, the original dashboard had become too costly, too outdated, and too much of a patchwork from various contributors to justify continued investment. While the new Federal IT Dashboard looks nice and delivers partly on the "premier user-centric site" self-designation through a clean and navigable user interface, the website fails to present the underlying data in a way that most users can interpret and ultimately falls short as a tool that different stakeholders can leverage to explore federal IT investments and initiatives.

Modernization of the Federal IT Dashboard began two years ago when GSA took over management of the dashboard from OMB. With funding from the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, GSA designed the new dashboard to be "more accessible and user-friendly" for exploring the cost, schedule, and overall health of thousands of federal IT investments. The updated website aims to demonstrate progress on the government-wide data center consolidation and Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) transition—the long-running effort to address procurement around federal agency IT telecommunications and infrastructure. GSA replaced the legacy dashboard with two applications, the IT Collect Application Programming Interface (API) and the GSA Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP) Visualization Platform. The former provides access to data, and the latter visualizes the data through charts and graphs. The underlying data in question comes from multiple data sources but largely from OMB's internal capital planning and investment control tools that federal agencies are responsible for reporting to during yearly IT Portfolio submissions.

From Information Technology & Innovation Foundation
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