Thursday May 30, 2002
MR. LAWRENCE: Welcome to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a co‑chair of The Endowment for the Business of Government. We created The Endowment in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches into improving government effectiveness. Find out more about The Endowment by visiting us on the web at endowment.pwcglobal.com.
The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who's changing the way the government does business. Our conversation this morning is with Mark Forman, Associate Director for Information Technology and e-Government in the Office of Management and Budget.
Good morning, Mark.
MR. FORMAN: Good morning.
MR. LAWRENCE: And joining us in our conversation is another PwC partner, Dave Carr.
Good morning, Dave.
MR. CARR: Good morning.
MR. LAWRENCE: Well, Mark, let's begin by talking about the Office of Management and Budget. And I'm curious. Could you describe for us the management side of OMB.
MR. FORMAN: Very rapidly, this administration is changing the whole notion of OMB. So, it's hard anymore to differentiate OMB budget from management. In essence, for the last decade, several decades, the Office Management and Budget has focused on budget. In the typical approach, we had a policy priority, money was spent on that policy, and then the agencies would figure out how to manage.
In this administration, largely because of the President's background and Mitch Daniels's background as the Director of OMB, we've inverted that. So the policy priorities are set. We figure out how to manage it, that priority. And then we figure out how much money do we need to manage that priority successfully. So, OMB management is now surfacing as the primary function is management of the budget. And of course, that does carry the traditional budgetary functions with it. But, basically, we're focusing on driving results. Out of programs. Out of the budget. Productivity is my key focus on the management side.
The management side is largely comprised of the focus on financial management, the focus on
e-government and IT, the focus on human capital. That's very integrated with the budget, obviously, because, as you know, in any organization, your money, your people, those are key parts of your assets.
And the last piece of the puzzle that's important to understand, past administrations have focused on government reform by trying to do several thousand initiatives. This administration is very focused on a five-part management agenda. And that's run out of the Office of Management and Budget.
MR. LAWRENCE: Can you tell us more about the office you lead, the Office of Information Technology and e‑Government.
MR. FORMAN: I think we all have realized over the last 10 years that government is information-intensive. And so all the revelations, all the newness in the way people do their work in information technology, deployments through the management of information, the way we drive productivity and the economy really can be brought to bear in the federal government.
We spend now -- this year, it will probably be about $50 billion. That's dramatically increased. Almost doubled over the last few years. In that realm, we're not seeing the productivity improvement. My office was created to manage that President's Management Agenda item called e-government, by driving the federal information technology investment so as to drive more productivity, more results for government programs and the mission of the federal government.
MR. LAWRENCE: Could you tell us a little bit about the office. I mean, you just mentioned huge numbers in the billions. How do you do all of that?
MR. FORMAN: We have a staff of roughly 30 people. And we rely heavily, in supplementing our staff, on detailing in people from different agencies and rotating them in. Basically, I was hired to put in place the governance structure, how are we going to manage this $52 billion IT investment? So we do that with a small cadre of very specialized expertise. And we work very tightly, very closely, with the folks more closely aligned to the agencies, that you would call resource management officers, the traditional budget examiners who now increasingly have a management role.
Last year, as an example, in the agency budget process, we received on September 10th budgets from all the departments and agencies. Of course, there was an increase in IT. And that increase grew after September 11th. So, by the time that we looked across agencies and all the IT investments, we were able to do the first-ever IT strategy for the federal government.
In looking at that, we found a significant portion of large investments. And we had 2900 large investments. Did not have a business case. So we told the agencies we're sorry, but we made the policy fairly clear. No business case, no money. And the point was to drive IT investments to a clear audit trail; how was that IT investment going to change management, change the processes, the business processes of key programs so as to lead to an improvement in program performance.
When they were able to do that, and put that in their business case, we're willing to fund it. And so we told them no money, no business case. Six weeks later, 900 business cases showed up. Obviously, with 30 people in the time that we had to put together the budget, it was very difficult to go through that many business cases. But we have over 500 people at OMB.
And by working as a team between the specialized expertise in my group and the folks that work directly day-in/day-out with each of the agencies, we were able to go through those 900 business cases, the 2000 other major, what we call significant IT investments, and ensure that the IT money is aligned with the mission performance improvement in the agencies. It's very much team based.
Now, a key part of the government structure I've seen, not just in the U.S. federal government, but in the experience I had before I came into the government is, as others were trying to bring up their cadre of IT and change agents across the government, there was a need to get them to understand where the management philosophy was moving. So, we've used this detailee process as kind of an academy-style government structure, where people rotate in for 3 months, 6 months, they get involved in evaluating business cases. So, they understand where we're trying to go, what the criteria are.
They get involved in our architecture analysis. It's a component-based architecture analysis now. So, they understand a look across the agencies is a different view than you get if you're in one of the agencies. They can go back to their agencies, take back that view, carry with them that enterprise change management approach.
MR. CARR: Mark, what can you tell us about your specific responsibilities as Associate Director?
MR. FORMAN: I think there are five major ones that were laid out in the announcement for my job. I looked at them very briefly. One, I am the Director for the CIO Council. That comprises all the CIOs from the executive departments and agencies. Second, I'm responsible for the President's expanding e‑government management agenda items. So, I'm the e-Gov czar, if you will, for the federal government for the President. Third, I oversee all the IT spending in the federal government. And we base those responsibilities, essentially, on a GAO Best Practices Report. That's the General Accounting Office. And, for many years, they've done best practices work on how we should better do IT in the federal government.
So, essentially, I don't have the title of CIO. We don't have those kind of titles in the federal government. But, it's basically what you would see in a large enterprise as a corporate CIO.
MR. CARR: Mark, you've been in the legislative branch. You're now in the executive branch. You've been in private industry. Can you tell us a little bit about your career?
MR. FORMAN: I actually started out doing project or consulting-type work. And one of my summers in college, I had the opportunity to come to Washington to work at a Department of Interior agency on a project. And while I was there, I saw how they were doing budgeting. In school, we would have said, boy, that's erroneous. And, I thought, well, there's a career here; I could drive a lot of good reforms and do a lot of good things because I thought I had a good education.
So, I was lucky enough to get a second federal summer internship at another departmental agency. I went off to grad school. .Actually, I got my master's in public policy. I was going to stay in and get a Ph.D. and do tax policy and come back to the government and do tax and other economic policy, but while -- I went to school at the University of Chicago. And while I was there, we laid out very clearly in the economics training that you had to really want to get a Ph.D. Economically, it was not a good use of your time. You had to do it because that's what you really wanted for your career. And, so, I instead went more on an operations research track.
When I finished up at grad school, I was lucky enough to be offered a spot in what was called the Presidential Management Intern Program. And I went in to the General Accounting Office as one of the National Security Division Presidential Management Interns. That program gives you 3 to 6 month projects.
And you rotate through, generally, at a relatively high level. During that time, I worked on a number of major government planning acquisition reform-type studies. I stayed there for a little over 2 years. I left to go to a company called Task, which has since been incorporated two or three times over into other Defense consolidations.
But I was doing professional services operations research for the Defense Department. From there, I went to another Defense contractor. Did similar work for the Office of Secretary of Defense. And that was 1990. Peace was breaking out all over the world. And through my contacts from when I was at GAO, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senior Republican, Senator Roth, was looking for someone who understood performance based management concepts and understood in a defense environment. I was heavily into that.
So for the next 7 years, that's what I did on the Hill. I went out into industry to help implement a number of management reform laws related to the Clinger-Cohen Act, also called the Information Technology Management Reform Act, the Federal Requisition Streamlining Act. A number of other bits and pieces of performance-based management concepts.
While I was at IBM, the e-business wave hit the public sector. So, I led that for the public sector at IBM. I spent a few months at UNYSIS doing a very similar thing for them, when I got the call from the White House to come over and take this role.
MR. CARR: Big jobs and a couple of big companies before you came back in the government. Why did you come back to government?
MR. FORMAN: This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any good government reformer. As both of you know, the opportunity to have the senior policymaking position, to oversee and drive a lot of those reforms, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is a new job. I'm the first person in it. And it is, I believe, a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience. And it has been, in the 11 months, today, that I've been there.
MR. LAWRENCE: That's a good stopping point. It's time for a break. But rejoin us in a few minutes as we continue our discussion about management with Mark Forman of OMB.
Do you know what e-Government is and why it matters to the President's Management Agenda? You'll find out when we ask Mark as The Business of Government Hour continues.
MR. LAWRENCE: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. And today's conversation is with Mark Forman, the Associate Director for Information Technology and e-Government in the Office of Management and Budget.
And joining us in our conversation is another PwC partner, Dave Carr.
MR. CARR: Mark, we've heard a lot about e‑government. How do you define the term?
MR. FORMAN: Our definition is the use of digital technologies to transform government operations in a way that improves effectiveness, efficiency and service delivery quality.
MR. LAWRENCE: We've heard a lot about e-government as part of one of the five President's Management Agenda items. How does your office help make that come to fruition?
MR. FORMAN: Well, it's through a number of ways. Overseeing agency approaches and driving across agency approaches is at the heart of it. Each of the management scorecard elements, and there are five elements, have a scorecard. And, indeed, when the President talked to the Cabinet secretaries about their budgets back in January, he talked to them about the management scorecard. He didn't talk about the money; he didn't talk about programs. He talked about how they were managing their agencies and their scores. In e-government, we have what I would call, two categories of scores. The first category is how is the agency doing at becoming an e-government? And the second is, is the agency participating in cross agency e-government projects?
Now, the reason for that is some of the work that we did last summer, the strategy led us to understand that we had tons and tons and tons of e-government investments. We had more than 22,000 web sites, 33 million-plus web pages. We're already online. That's not the problem. The problem is how smart are we doing that? Are we doing it in a way to drive productivity?
Some of that productivity, some of that value is going to come in terms of the agency improvements and achieving their mission. And the heart of that is a modernization blueprint. The focus is on results the focus is on the customers and citizens that get benefit from that agency operations.
And the other thing that we found in looking at that, out of the 24 Cabinet departments and agencies, 19 are doing any one on a business. So, when you've got three quarters of the agencies overlapping; take customer relationship management as an example. If you have 19 agencies out of 24 that are improving their relationship with the customer, and five or six of them are dealing with the same customer, it's kind of like going online and walking around five or six different web sites, five or six different buildings. It's not customer-centered at all.
I use the moniker of "simplify and unify" to describe what we're driving. At the end of the day, it's got to be simpler for a citizen to get service, to get their results or to see their results. And that means that we've got to operate in a way that unifies our investments. Some of us say consolidate our investments around the citizen. So we're driving that within agencies, across agencies. We're evaluating how agencies are doing on a quarterly basis in both categories, and we're reporting that to the President, and then he discusses it at the cabinet meetings.
MR. CARR: Mark, you did a task force around e‑government, I think, developing a vision, if you will, for e-government. Can you give us a little bit of background in the genesis of that task force and what it accomplished?
MR. FORMAN: The issue that was raised, when I first came in the government, in fact, I raised it before I came in the government, is that under the Paperwork Elimination Act, and under just good business practices by the federal agencies, there were an awful lot of e-government initiatives underway. But there wasn't a clear implementation of the President's vision for government management and management reform.
The President laid out very clearly that government has to become citizen-centered and not agency-centered. And the government has to focus on producing results. You can't do that en masse across a $1-� -- 2 trillion federal budget. You have to pick priorities. You have to know what to focus on. And you have to focus on the customer, the citizen, to get this to work.
So we laid out a strategy and a vision that said that we are going to achieve an order of magnitude improvement in value to the citizens. You know, things like reducing the cycle time it takes to respond to a citizen. How long does it take us to make a decision? And we needed to flesh that out.
So we created a taskforce. Mitch Daniels, the Director of OMB, actually did it, to pick the priorities. And we wanted parties to be picked within four major groupings of citizens: individuals, government-to-citizens, government-to-business. One of the things that we realized early on when we looked at the transactions of federal government, the bulk of those transactions are in the government-to-business base and government-to-governments base.
So, government-to-citizen, government-to-business, inter-governmental affairs or
government-to-government was the third category. And, then, we have 3 to 4 million government employees, depending on how you call the Guard or Reserves. That's a large segment of the populace. So, there, too, in the internal efficiency projects, focused on government employees as a citizen-centered group for making it easier and better for government employees to do their jobs.
When we set up the taskforce, we identified change agents, strategic thinkers, generally, the GS‑13 through the first-level senior executive service. They were pulled together from the different agencies. They were brought together under the notion that they put on a government‑wide hat, that they lose their agency identity. And we adopted a traditional, or a modern, e-strategy approach, a commercial practice as an approach to e-strategy.
MR. CARR: Now, were the members of the taskforce largely out of the chief information officers' organization? Or, did they come from other parts of the organization?
MR. FORMAN: It was a very broad mix. I don't know exactly how many were out of IT organizations, but if it was half, I'd be surprised. These were change agents that came out of programs, they came out of strategic planning organizations; a lot of them came out of customer service organizations within the department.
MR. LAWRENCE: You're the chief of the CIO Council. What is the role of the CIOs in e-government?
MR. FORMAN: Within each department or agency, some of them were picked as the
e-government leader, but regardless, under the Clinger-Cohen Act, they all are responsible for leveraging technology to improve the business practices of the department, overseeing the IT investments, laying out the architecture to do that, ensuring that IT is used in the way that improves mission performance of the agencies.
Now, in our world, and you know in the private sector, everything has become enabled. So, their role is to do that in their departments and agencies. A number of them are political appointees, a number of them are career officials. And, unfortunately, we do have still a couple of lingering vacancies.
MR. LAWRENCE: What are some of the challenges they're experiencing as they're trying to execute e-government?
MR. FORMAN: Well, in a number of the departments, they still have not gotten control over the bureau-level IT spending. It's part of the preparations process in some cases, it's part of the management process in others. That's changed dramatically, I think, over the last 6 months. And, for my role, empowering them is a key part.
One of the things that we've seen over the last couple of months operating the CIO Council as a body is zero transformation. We've done a lot of analysis using component-based architecture models to get a feel for the business architecture of the federal government. In other words, what are the similar processes, what are the similar lines of business, what are the similar functions of the federal government.
And, as a group, we've done that jointly between my office and the CIO Council, literally using this academy-style rotating people in, while my office has provided some consistency of resources. We've been able to understand that, as a group, the CIOs are quite powerful in driving a lot of the transformation and joining things up. That's going to perpetuate itself in the Fiscal Year �04 budget processing.
In early September, we get the budgets. We get the business cases. For the first time ever, the CIO Council and the CIOs have agreed that we're going to see some joint business cases, agencies actually joining up around this business architecture to figure out how to transform the effectiveness and the efficiency of government.
MR. LAWRENCE: Let me just ask you a basic management question about how you work with the CIOs. What skills do you use in the relationship? They don't work for you directly. How do you make all this happen?
MR. FORMAN: It's a mix of carrot and stick. The agencies that have career CIOs have gone through several months, with the new administration coming in, new deputy secretaries and secretaries, new assistant secretaries, new management. I'm essentially building a relationship with that career person. In that arena, it is an absolute role that I've had to play and that I should play, or whoever is in my role should play: A), to make sure that that CIO is capable of doing what needs to be done; and B), of making sure that the political official understands the role of that CIO. And the quality of that person and the ability of that person and the responsibilities of that person under the Clinger-Cohen Act.
On the other side, there are some core processes that CIOs have to set up under the Clinger-Cohen Act. And the agencies are just now at the cusp of really taking to heart those processes, as the new administration has become in control of those processes. I would say there are two, in particular, that we have focused on. And they show up, actually, in the scorecard as well is what we're leveraging by the budget process.
One is this concept of an enterprise architecture. Now the Clinger-Cohen Act talked about each CIO setting up an enterprise IT architecture. Well, we now know that that has to go way beyond IT if we're really going to drive performance improvement in the agency. It has to get into the business architecture. So, we've held the CIOs accountable for doing it. And we've seen anomalies. We've seen some very, very good IT architects that have put together an enterprise architecture, a detailed enterprise architecture, that is not aligned with the business in the agencies. The Treasury Department, where their enterprise architecture doesn't at all address accounts payables or accounts receivables. Or, I should say, didn't, before we engaged with that discussion.
Similarly, in the capital planning process, we want the IT architecture and the enterprise architecture to make the tough decisions and then the how, the risk management are supposed to be laid out in the business cases. And those can be embraced by our capital planning processes. The CIO has to enforce that to occur. They have to be involved in that process. And, again, it's a carrot and stick approach to getting that to occur.
MR. LAWRENCE: That's a good stopping point. Come back with us after the break as we continue our conversation with Mark Forman of OMB. We'll ask him to take us through the different categories of the e-government issues when The Business of Government Hour continues.
MR. LAWRENCE: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and today's conversation is with Mark Forman, Associate Director for Information Technology and e-Government in the Office of Management and Budget.
Joining us in our conversation is Dave Carr, another PwC partner.
MR. CARR: Thanks, Paul.
Mark, in the last segment, you talked about the Quicksilver Government Taskforce, which created a vision, if you will, for e-government within the current administration. Hundreds, probably, of projects were nominated. How did you narrow it down to just 24?
MR. FORMAN: Well, you're absolutely right. There were hundreds of projects, a little under 400 to be exact. What we found is that we had to look at the business architecture and use that as the guideline. And when we started overlaying it against the business architecture of the federal government, we found a redundancy issue of 19 out of 24 agencies doing each initiative. And it gave us a framework then to whittle it down.
We whittled down the 400 to 33 initiatives. We used a steering group to help make the decisions. And we used some criteria and a scoring algorithm. But the criteria were: first, did it have a large impact in terms of how it affected the citizens and how many citizens it impacted? Second, did it save us in redundant IT investments? Third, did it free up government resources? In other words, reduce the expenditure, the cost of government operations, or improve the quality of government operations? Fourth, did it reduce the burden on customers, paperwork burden, filing burden, et cetera? Fifth, was it doable in 3-month increments? We wanted everything to be done within 18 to 24 months. And, then, finally, the risk management; did we have manageable risk?
And we scored it on those criteria. Put it through the model. So, we did an initial downselect from 33 to 30. And we went off and did many business cases, using our business case methodology for the federal government. Came back, put that back into the scoring algorithim and met with our steering group, our deputy secretaries, and asked them to first take a look at the scores we had come up with, discuss them. And we wanted to get down to no more than 25 initiatives per segment.
When we met at our second steering group meeting, the deputies decided to take a couple initiatives and basically turn those into a business case initiative. So we ended up with five initiatives per citizen center group: government-to-citizen, government-to-individuals, government-to-business, government-to-government and internal efficiency and effectiveness. There was five in each of those. And then we added in the implementations, the 21st, the two business cases, May 23.
After the taskforce ended, Mark Everson, who is the Comptroller for the federal government, the head of the Office of Federal Financial Management, and also the nominee to be the director of management for OMB -- he's the acting chair of the President's Management Council -- Mark and I looked at payroll processing as another issue where the same methodology could be applied. That became the 24th initiative, because there was so much money. But at the end of the day, these were initiatives that we found could either be simplified to drive benefits by focusing on the citizen, or unified. In all of them, it turned out, could be unified. We had five to ten projects each that could be consolidated around the citizen, around the customer.
MR. LAWRENCE: Well, let's go through one category. You mentioned government-to-business. And one of the projects is one-stop business compliance information. Can you tell us about this?
MR. FORMAN: We create somewhere between $350 billion to $500 billion per year in redundant reporting requirements. Government thinks in the paper world. Business has largely embraced e-business approaches and thinks about electronic data transactions or data exchange. So the business compliance one-stop is an initiative to take and aggregate dozens of agency initiatives that essentially would take their paper processes and move them online under the Paperwork Elimination Act.
It turns out we had 6600 transactions or paperwork processes to be put online. If we just web-enable those, that's going to continue that $350 to $500 billion reporting burden into the electronic world. E-business is all about collecting once and using many; making it easier for citizens to apply, or businesses, small businesses, to apply, to comply with, to get service from the federal government. So the business one-stop really leverages a collect once, use many. It leverages XML technology. It also simplifies government so small businesses don't have to hire, sorry to say, accountants, lawyers, lobbyists just to deal with the federal government. So, collect once, use many; simplify dealing with the government.
MR. LAWRENCE: Another one of the groups that was described was Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness. What changes are federal employees likely to see as a result of this in terms of their work?
MR. FORMAN: Well, there's no question that the President's Management Agenda items fit together. The Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness is where we see the leverage between, for example, financial management, human capital, performance-based budgeting and performance integration initiatives in e-government. If you take those as a whole, that's enterprise resource management, or ERP in the private sector. In the federal government, agencies are investing in ERP. But, it works this way: the human resources directors buy a copy of the ERP, the financial managers buy a copy of the ERP, the payroll processing centers buy a copy of the ERP. So, we're buying enterprise resource management. But, we're not doing it.
What that means for somebody working in the program, or somebody working in one of these back-office operations in the federal government, is it's just as hard to do their work as it was in the old paper world. It came out very clearly in the taskforce that the federal employees want that modern work environment. They want to be a knowledge worker. They are a knowledge worker, but the infrastructure doesn't support them. So, these Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness projects really provide for that human capital, management, the modern ways people do their work. And it starts everything from their recruitment process, how they come into government through how they're doing work. Things like, just simple things, like, getting reimbursed for travel.
When I came into the federal government, I was shocked. I filled out 15 or 16 different forms my first day on the job, just to become a federal employee. So, after about the eighth or ninth form, I started counting, how much different data was there. And, of course, there's just one or two different data items. But, I was filling that out 15 or 16 times. Of course, that continued on wherever you worked. But, it's a paperwork process and we don't leverage information that we've all ready got. You know, each of those 15 or 16 different forms was then being keyed in by somebody to 15 or 16 different information systems. So we would continue these redundant information systems, it makes it hard for the employees to do their work. These Internal Efficiency and Effective projects all are simplifying that and making it easier for the employees to do their work, giving them that modern knowledge worker environment.
MR. CARR: Mark, there's a lot of people that I think relate positively to the notion of citizen-centric government. Which of these initiatives do you think address that area most specifically, and what are your expectations about the future in that area?
MR. FORMAN: Well, we know that there are a couple truisms about the federal government that are unique to other governments that are becoming an e-government. First is that most of our transactions are with businesses; then, state and local government; then, federal employees; and finally, with the citizens. We rely on state and local government to actually build that interface with the citizen. So, we have to work with them much better than we have in the past. And this is one of the things that's new about the Bush Administration. So, part of becoming citizen-centered, and we see this significantly in how we're moving forward in homeland security; part of being citizen centered is that delivery channel.
The other part, though, is how we deal directly with the citizens. And one of the things that has been amazing to us --of course, in being citizen-centered, you have to look at what the citizens want. So we rely on survey data and studies for that, web analytics and so forth. It's turned out that there's a tremendous demand for citizens to see the regulations, the rules that are being promulgated and to get control over that. We saw that first in the studies from the Council for Excellence in Government. They went more in-depth in that this year.
They found out citizens want to drive accountability in government by actually seeing, being able to comment, being heard on their comments as it relates to proposed rules and regulations, the processes of government. The Pew internet report that came out a couple of months ago said, indeed, 42 million Americans have gone online to look at proposed rules and regulations. Twenty three million Americans actually have commented on that. Now, a number of people have said, oh, that can't be right. Twenty three million, that's tens of millions of Americans. Maybe that's who's sending comments to members to Congress or to government agencies, but they can't really be looking at rules and regulations.
I had a conversation with John Carlin, the archivist. The Archives are where we collect all the data that goes into the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations. And he said, yes, indeed, he's seen the same trend. Sixty five million Americans last year downloaded documents from the Federal Register. Now, compare that to 5 years ago, 1995, 1996. Twenty thousand people got that information by ordering a copy of the Federal Register. Those numbers actually dropped to 15,000.
When we actually look at the Code of Federal Regulations, it gets even more surprising. There was over 3-� million people in 1995 and '96 who were buying copies of the Code of Federal Regulations, physical copies. That dropped to a million last year. So somewhere between a third to 25 percent of the people are now doing this in the paper world. A hundred million downloads, a hundred million downloads, of the Code of Federal Regulations from the Internet. The people are online, and they are using that free democracy. The online rulemaking initiative is the one initiative that we started out to let business, small business primarily, be able to comment on rules and regulations without having to hire a lawyer or lobbyist or go to a $3,000 or $4,000 conference.
We've realized since then that this is a fast moving issue in e-democracy for American citizens.
MR. LAWRENCE: It's a good stopping point. It's time for a break. Rejoin us as we continue our conversation about management with Mark Forman of OMB.
We've talked a lot about what's taking place now in terms of e-government. But what needs to be done going forward? We'll ask Mark when The Business of Government Hour returns.
MR. LAWRENCE: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm Paul Lawrence, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and today's conversation is with Mark Forman, the Associate Director for Information Technology and e-Government in the Office of Management and Budget.
And joining us in our conversation is Dave Carr, another PwC partner.
MR. CARR: Well, Mark, in our last segment, you talked about the various e-government initiatives. And one of those initiatives, one of the family of initiatives, has to do with government-to-government. There's a lot of that discussion in that area now, especially around the issue of homeland security. Can you talk a little bit about that?
MR. FORMAN: As I mentioned, the government-to-government arena is so important to us because it is state and local government that really owns the delivery channel to the citizen. That's the same that we're finding in homeland security, and indeed, as we looked at the government-to-government initiatives, four of those were also incorporated in the budget as part of the homeland security initiatives.
Generally, the way I think you have to measure how well we're doing with e-government in the citizens' eyes is how responsive are we to their needs? As we looked at the homeland security arena and we look at e-government, one commonality came up, and it's the quality of decisionmaking across the various levels of government. Now, in homeland security, they call it vertical information sharing. In e-government, we just call it intergovernmental affairs.
But, basically, we have two key measures that we're focused on. One is that we're accelerating our response time. So it shouldn't matter if it's the response time for obtaining a benefit, getting unemployment insurance or some other safety net program, if it's the response time on a public safety issue, disaster assistance, law enforcement. If we can increase our response time, we know we'll be successful. And we know that we have to do that as a partnership. The collaborative tools, the knowledge management tools, and the workflow integration tools that have come out of e-business are tremendously useful to us in this arena of government-to-government. So they affect those projects.
Let me give you some specific examples, because the corollary to that, if this works, is to improve quality decisionmaking. One of the initiatives is the disaster preparedness one-stop; a portal, essentially, for working with state and local governments to prepare for and respond to disasters. This, too, like our other business architecture areas, is one where the federal government has lots of good silos of initiatives. But as a whole, we haven't done a good job in working together as a government with our delivery panels and our partners.
So when we had our partnership meeting in the disaster preparedness portal -- we had done this for each of the government initiatives -- we laid out a fairly clear set of objectives and goals on how we're going to better work with state and local government. And at that meeting, an emergency management director showed up. He laid it out very clearly. He told the departments and agencies in the federal government -- and we had roughly 50 to 60 people there -- he told them how difficult it was for the state and local folks to try to deal with a disaster. Fifty, sixty different initiatives. All good initiatives. But, they're making it so difficult on the state and local folks that have to respond to disaster that indeed, they may be hurting the ability to save lives and protect property.
He laid out very clearly and really motivated this group of federal employees to work together to define a very simple process and integrated approach for dealing with different elements of the disaster planning and disaster response delivery channel. So I think that's the type of thing that we see; obviously, that's about the homeland security function and e-government function. Because the way you do this now is you leverage mobile business or mobile-type technology. You leverage e-government, e-business-type approaches. And you leverage the workflow, the simple processes and so forth. And that's what you see in general as the nexus between homeland security in this vertical information sharing arena and the government-to-government portfolio.
MR. LAWRENCE: You've talked a lot about technology, but cyber security hasn't come up. So, I'm curious where it fits in these priorities.
MR. FORMAN: In an environment where we have so many services online that rely on the backbone of the Internet to perform the work of the federal government, security is tremendously important to us. In fact, it's important to us as a country. The President signed an Executive Order and created the Critical Infrastructure and Protection Board that many people call the Cyber Board, to focus on this issue. I sit on that Board and, indeed, chair a committee on that that focuses on executive branch information systems. But the bottom line is, for many years, we've realized that cyber-security is important for the economy, and it's important for the federal government and its role in the economy. We've adopted a five part approach for dealing with it.
First, through some recent legislation called the Government Information Security Reform Act, we've required the secretaries of the departments and agencies of the federal government to submit to us an evaluation of their security plan that's based on an independent evaluation by their inspectors general. Second, to put together an action plan that fixes the problems, the gaps identified in the current program. That, then, we worked in through the budget process for
FY �03. And we'll do the same thing in FY �04. Third, integrating into the business case process. So in these business cases, in these capital investment plans, we literally score each business case on how well they address security. Do they embed the appropriate security, because we don't want to pay for that after the fact. But we'd rather have that built in from the beginning.
Fourth, we've adopted something called "Project Matrix." And we've literally required each of the departments and agencies to do this assessment. It's a vulnerability assessment. It's a vulnerability assessment, a contingency operation and business continuity and planning initiative. It tells each agency what are the vulnerabilities for that department, how should they address that, what kind of contingency plan should they have in place, what kind of back-up. What we found is that we need now to look across the departments and agencies. I mentioned the redundancy. But we know that redundancy can be good if you have that integrated with your disaster recovery plans. So, indeed, we're doing a cross agency application of Project Matrix.
The final thing is to have an audit trail in place. So, literally, we focused the deputy secretaries of the President's Management Council, we're incorporating that into the scorecard to make sure that each of the agencies are addressing the gaps that they have and that they're continuing to identify and address those gaps.
People say, well, gee wiz, last year, you identified a number of gaps, but the gaps seem to be growing. We're at a point now where the gaps are growing because we're identifying them. And I think what's happening in industry and what we're bringing into government for this year's iteration of that approach is a 24 hour cycle time, the ability to respond quickly to vulnerabilities or threats as they are identified. So part of doing that is adopting a modern approach, a web services approach, for that. And we've set up at what's called FEDCRC, the Federal Critical Response Center, at the General Services Administration, that ability to have that 24 hour response time.
MR. CARR: Mark, we've talked about the Quicksilver initiatives, we've talked about the business cases that were developed in advance of these initiatives being funded. How are we going to measure success? I guess it's probably contained � the criteria is contained, identified within the business case. But how will you, how will I, as a taxpayer, know that things are different, things are better?
MR. FORMAN: Well, I hope you don't have any problems in your interfaces with the federal government right now. But, if you do, and there are quite a few programs and quite a few customers of the federal government, I have to say the state and local governments, especially in the post-9/11 environment, have been very vocal on where their problems, where their issues are. That is where we'll see some of the biggest change. So we are generally looking for some very simple measures. We're looking for an order of magnitude improvement.
But, we talk about things like the time it takes to get a decision. You know, in the past, even for benefits, it typically took the federal government months. We want to get that cycle time down to days or hours. Similarly, you know, if you look at homeland security and if you look at a lot of the government-to-government initiatives, we don't have weeks or months to make a decision. That has to be down to hours. Maybe, minutes, if possible. So cycle time is an often important criterion. The other is the measure of performance, and exactly as you said, these initiatives, whether they're cross-agency or within each agency, link back to actual program performance. So we're looking for the productivity improvement down to the level of that program. We have some other types of measures, and we're tracking this all via the scorecard. So my objective in how I measure the performance of my direct reports is in getting the federal agencies to green for that e-government score on their scorecard.
MR. LAWRENCE: We've got time for one last quick question. I'm curious, Mark. What advice would you give to a young person interested in a career in public service?
MR. FORMAN: Well, there's no doubt about it, this is an exciting time to come into government. I would say at this point, this year, be a little patient. We're in transition. We are rebuilding the recruitment processes for the federal government. All the departments are working on strategic human capital plans. They're understanding that the workforce is changing. It is a tremendously rewarding experience. But I have to say right now, you have to be persistent. You have to be willing to work via the USA Jobs Website, via other aspects of getting into government to get in. I think getting a master's and entering through the Presidential Management Intern Program is a tremendous way to come into government.
MR. LAWRENCE: Well, we're out of time. David and I want to thank you very much for being with us this morning.
MR. FORMAN: Thank you. And, it's a pleasure to be here. If you want to see more information about the e-government initiatives, I'd encourage people to go to the omb.gov website. Look at the budget, look at Chapter 22 of the analytical perspectives. It goes out into excruciating detail on how we did the first-ever IT strategy look at the federal government. As we go into the summer, you'll see a new-looking field for the omb.gov web site. You'll see the scores of the various agencies on e-gov as well as the other management agenda criteria.
MR. LAWRENCE: Great. Thanks so much.
MR. CARR: Thank you, Mark.
MR. LAWRENCE: This has been The Business of Government Hour, featuring a conversation with Mark Forman, Associate Director for Information Technology and
e-Government in the Office of Management and Budget.
Be sure and visit us on the web at endowment.pwcglobal.com. There, you can learn more about our programs and get a transcript of today's very interesting conversation. Again, that's endowment.pwcglobal.com.
This is Paul Lawrence. See you next week.