On June 1, 2009 the Obama Administration launched the IT Dashboard. The IT Dashboard is a public website deployed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). It provides detailed information on approximately 759 major IT investments at 27 federal agencies, including assessments of these investments' performance against cost and schedule targets (referred to as ratings). The public dissemination of this information is intended to allow federal agencies, industry, the general public and other stakeholders to view details of federal information technology investments.
Among other things, agencies are to submit Chief Information Officer (CIO) ratings, which, according to OMB's instructions, should reflect the level of risk facing an investment on a scale from 1 (high risk) to 5 (low risk) relative to that investment's ability to accomplish its goals. Ultimately, CIO ratings are assigned colors for presentation on the Dashboard, according to a five-point rating scale.
Through the IT Dashboard, Federal agencies and the public have the ability to view details of Federal information technology (IT) investments online and to track their progress over time. The IT Dashboard replaced the "Management Watch List," established by OMB in 2003, which included mission-critical projects that needed to improve performance measures, project management, IT security, or overall justification, and the "High-Risk List," established by OMB in August 2005, which consisted of projects identified by federal agencies, with the assistance of OMB, as requiring special attention from oversight authorities and the highest levels of agency management.
The performance data used to track the 759 major IT investments is based on milestones contained in agency reports to OMB called "Capital Asset Plans", commonly referred to as "Exhibit 300s." Federal Agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are responsible for evaluating and updating select data on a monthly basis, which is accomplished through interfaces provided on the IT Dashboard website.
The purpose of the IT Dashboard is to provide information on the effectiveness of government IT programs and to support decisions regarding the investment and management of resources. The IT Dashboard is now being used by the Administration and Congress to make budget and policy decisions.
What it shows
- Cost and schedule ratings. The Dashboard calculates these ratings by determining cost and schedule variances based on agency-submitted data, such as planned versus actual costs or planned versus actual completion dates. The IT Dashboard then assigns rating colors (red, yellow, green) based on the magnitude of the variances. Specifically, a variance greater than 30% is red, a variance between 10% and 30% is yellow, and a variance less than 10% is green.
- CIO ratings. Unlike the cost and schedule ratings, the IT Dashboard's "Investment Evaluation by Agency CIO" (also called the CIO rating) is determined by the agency CIO. According to the OMB's instructions, each agency CIO is to assess his or her IT investments against a set of pre-established evaluation factors and then assign a rating of 1 (high risk) to 5 (low risk) based on the CIO's best judgment of the level of risk facing the investment.
- "Overview" section: Information Technology: Reform Initiatives Can Help Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness, at 6-7.
- "Overview" section: IT Dashboard: Accuracy Has Improved, and Additional Efforts Are Under Way to Better Inform Decision Making.
- "What it shows" section: IT Dashboard: Agencies Need to Fully Consider Risks When Rating Their Major Investments, at 4-5.