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Sharing IT gets more attractive as budgets shrink

May. 22, 2012 - 12:28PM   |  

BALTIMORE — Pressed by White House mandates and budget cuts, agencies are increasingly looking at sharing information technology services, such as email systems.

For example, two agencies within the Department of Homeland Security — the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Customs and Border Protection — are transitioning to the department’s cloud email system.

DHS’ CIO, Richard Spires, said one agency, which he did not name, is now spending about $25 per email box each month, compared with an average of $7 it will be spending by moving to the department’s enterprise cloud email. Email and virtual desktops are among the 12 shared services that DHS is making available departmentwide.

Agencies must start sharing">at least two services by December, the Office of Management and Budget announced this month in its Federal IT Shared Services Strategy.

Budget cuts also will drive more IT sharing trend.

OMB last week instructed agencies">to cut their planned 2014 IT spending by 10 percent below their average spending from 2010 to 2012.

“That’s putting a lot of pressure on us,” Spires said Monday at a Government Information Technology Executive Council (GITEC) conference here. Spires said he expects to reduce costs by sharing services across DHS.

The government’s migration to shared service centers for human resources is expected to generate $1.3 billion in savings and cost avoidance between 2009 and 2013, said Elizabeth Mautner, program manager for the Office of Personnel Management’s human resources line of business.

About 70 percent of agencies have complied with mandates to move core HR services, such as benefits and payroll management, to shared service centers, said Mautner, who also spoke at the conference.

She suggested the budget process be used to enforce migration to HR shared service centers.

Department CIOs often lack the clout to push their agencies to share services, so that means agency leaders and users of IT systems must also press the issue, said John Kost, a group vice president in Gartner Research.

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