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Agencies report more than $1 billion in IT savings

Jul. 25, 2013 - 06:58PM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments
Federal chief information officer Steven VanRoekel will testify about savings achieved through consolidating duplicative information technology systems Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing.
Federal chief information officer Steven VanRoekel will testify about savings achieved through consolidating duplicative information technology systems Thursday at a House subcommittee hearing. (Tom Brown / Staff)

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Agencies have saved $885 million over the past year by consolidating duplicative information technology systems, buying in bulk and eliminating failing IT projects, the administration is expected to announce Thursday.

Those savings were achieved using an approach called PortfolioStat in which officials review spending data for resources such as email and desktop computers in search of duplicative investments and opportunities to consolidate projects.

The $1.37 billion includes both savings and cost avoidance, but it isn’t clear how much can be reinvested or eliminated from agencies’ technology budgets. The administration had initially released data showing agencies saved $885 million as of June 30. The Social Security Administration had reported $206 million in savings through PortfolioStat, the Defense Department had saved $189 million, and the Department of Homeland Security had saved $164 million since PortfolioStat launched in 2012.

Agencies expect PortfolioStat will save $2.5 billion through fiscal 2015. But savings achieved through the first iteration of this initiative were called into question by the Government Accountability Office because agencies were not required to report how they verified savings and outcomes.

Federal chief information officer Steven VanRoekel will testify Thursday about the savings at a House subcommittee hearing. In his written testimony, VanRoekel said the administration is taking PortfolioStat to the next level by further analyzing spending data and combining the effort with the government’s data center consolidation and cloud computing initiatives.

Thursday’s hearing will focus on agencies’ data center consolidation progress. The initiative came under criticism in June when lawmakers were told agencies found an additional 3,000 data centers, mainly small facilities, that had not been included in the previous inventory.

As of May, agencies have closed 484 data centers and plan to close a total of 855 data centers by Oct. 1, according to VanRoekel’s testimony.

VanRoekel is finalizing new metrics this summer that focus less on the number of data center closures and more on energy, facility, labor, storage and virtualization costs and capabilities of remaining data centers.

The Office of Management and Budget is now pushing agencies to improve operations of core data centers, which VanRoekel defined as highly optimized, multi-use facilities that support mission services. All other data centers are considered noncore and will be the focus of consolidation.

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