Tuesday at the Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York, Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips announced the launch of the new government IT Dashboard (beta of course) to provide an online window into the details of Federal information technology investments and provides citizens with the ability to track the progress of investments over time.
Filled with news, statistics, and charts, the dashboard reveals IT spending across all the major federal agencies. Select any agency, and you can see its budget and spending pattern. For example, according to the site, the Department of Defense chews up the most tax dollars, with a 2009 IT budget of $33 billion.
An interactive data feed page lets you filter specific types of data by IT project, category, and department to see a spending snapshot and then export the data as a CSV file or RSS feed. While there is a thick smog of government-ease within this feature, the ability to export the data and create even more usable mashups is very promising.
I am very excited about the new Dashboard, however, I think the Whitehouse should take a step back from creating fancy new websites to evaluate and improve (or decommission) similar sites already out there. Late last year, the Visualization to Understand Expenditures in Information Technology (VUE-IT) site was debuted by the Whitehouse which basically gives the same info that the IT Dashboard has suddenly made “more transparent”.
The goal of VUE-IT is to improve the understanding of the annual Federal Government Information Technology investments made through the President’s Budget (sound familiar?). VUE-IT organizes IT investments by agency and bureau, as well as by the Federal Enterprise Architecture’s (FEA) service groupings; Service to Citizens, Support Delivery of Services to Citizens, Management of Government Resources, and Service Types and Components. While VUE-IT doesn’t have all the pretty pie charts and visualizations as the new Dashboard, it kinda makes more sense.
Hopefully both VUE-IT and the new IT Dashboard will contribute to the accountability that we’ve all been looking for in agencies to create a substantial change to how IT programs are developed and managed before they start spending the money.
New dashboard shows where federal IT tax dollars go
Whitehouse Preparing Data.gov 2.0
Launching in Beta – A Look at PdF ’09, Day 2