I recently was invited by email to comment on the Office of Management and Budget’s discussion draft for Federal Information Technology (IT) Shared Services Strategy originally issued by U. S. CIO Steven VanRoekel in December 2011.

So I visited the IdeaScale site to engage with OMB in this forum. Unfortunately, it was like deja vu, reminding me of the Evolving Data.gov with You where comments were submitted as far back as two years ago and which have yet to addressed.

There weren’t weren’t many new ideas posted when I first visited it and those that were appeared to be topics in the table of contents of the document so I concluded that this is not getting that much attention. I asked myself why?

One reason could be that the idea of shared services has been around for so long that perhaps it no longer evokes much interest and excitment.

Some readers may recall when the Federal CIO Council started the Federal SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) Community of Practice some six years ago–and we have been at it ever since.

In fact, that group is having its 13th conference April 3, at MITRE in McLean, Va. Those looking for more on this subject might be interested in an article I delivered at the last conference, entitled: In Search Of Practical Ways To Share IT Services In Government.

To me the most interesting thing in the report was a table, “Potential Shared Service Opportunity Areas,” where I added the totals for investments and costs.

Area US Government
Number of Investments
Cost ($ Millions)
Planning and Budgeting 222 515
General Government 182 1209
Administrative Management 197 578
Financial Management 311 1650
HR Management 1035 17,371
Supply Chain Management 122 362
Totals 2069 21,685

HR Management leads all the areas with 1035 Investments (essentially 50%) costing $17.3 million (about 80%). That is exactly where the Federal SOA CoP started In January 2006 with piloting a shared service for Human Resources across the government.

The Federal CIO Council said to me then: ‘Show us a SOA’ and we did that with the model-driven architecture approach and tooling that showed both the SOA architecture and the XML messages and data flowing throught the architecture diagrams. We have since gone on to pilot a Open Source ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) for SOA that the FAA has adopted for its SWIM Program, piloted SOA and business process modeling with ontologies that the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer is using.

Starting in December 2012, OMB will lead a series of information sessions to discuss the Shared IT Services Strategy in depth with agencies. Agency feedback will be solicited and used to inform development of the final strategy for release in April 2012.

Perhaps our new U. S. CIO Steven VanRoekel would accept a standing invitation from the Federal SOA CoP and MITRE to learn first hand what we have been doing over the past six years to foster shared services across the federal government .