White House video promotes IT dashboard

The White House has posted a new video promoting the Office of Management and Budget's IT Dashboard, which is supposed to provide an unprecedented level of transparency into the way the federal government spends its $80 billion annual budget for information technology.

In the video federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra reiterates how the site has prompted a review process that has led to the cancellation of several projects, which he claims will save taxpayers $3 billion in the long term.

The timing of the video is somewhat contradictory, given that earlier this week the Government Accountability Office issued another report finding fault with the accuracy of the data on the dashboard.

According to the GAO, more than half of the data on the site doesn't reflect the current status of projects even when allowing for minor errors in data entry.

That prompted criticism from lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, who urged OMB to address weaknesses in how agencies report the data.

"The dashboard, while providing some insight for the casual user, doesn’t include the details of program performance needed to precisely manage cost and schedule," said FedSources senior vice president and chief knowledge officer Ray Bjorklund.

He said OMB has done a better job of managing IT costs in recent months, such as shutting down or scaling back several large-scale overhauls of agency financial management systems, but said the dashboard isn't the primary cause.

"The increased IT program oversight by OMB and the agencies has indeed discovered opportunities for cost avoidance, but the dashboard is not the principal actor."