Federal IT Dashboard goes open source

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Today, we're excited to announce that our Civic Commons team, working with the White House and the Federal CIO, has made the cost-saving IT Dashboard, the technology behind IT.USAspending.gov, freely available for any government entity to use and customize. This development is the latest in a growing movement to cut government IT spending by sharing reusable technology, thereby reducing redundant development costs and encouraging cooperation between multiple branches and levels of government.

Launched in 2009, the Federal IT Dashboard has been one of the most widely-recognized government transparency initiatives. The dashboard is a publicly accessible tool that tracks details of federal spending, status, and ROI of information technology projects, making government investment in IT more transparent and allowing users to monitor how effectively taxpayer dollars are being spent. “Transparency is not just about data that’s out there in the public domain,” added Kundra, “it’s actually about government that performs and delivers for the American people.” The federal government has used the dashboard to evaluate project effectiveness in order to better manage government resources. According to an OMB report, the IT Dashboard was a major component of the process the Federal Government employed to save over $3 billion in just its first two years of deployment.

Kundra was from the outset committed to making the dashboard usable by other levels of government, and when Code for America approached him for a possible partnership for our Civic Commons project, this seemed like a great opportunity to work together. A collaboration between CfA and OpenPlans, Civic Commons helps governments share technology to save money and reduce redundancy. The IT Dashboard was perfect for Civic Commons, as it's something every government could use to become more efficient and more open -- core values for our organization.

The Civic Commons staff, led by Karl Fogel, helped the original contractor prepare the code for release under an open source license. After months of working together, the code behind the dashboard is now openly available, and not only can other government entities download and install the software, but developers can get involved and add new features too. Overtime, we hope to build an ecosystem of developers, vendors, and governments working together to deploy and improve the IT Dashboard.

The opening of the IT Dashboard is the latest in a trend of governments sharing their software to make it usable by other government agencies, and thereby to benefit from the improvements and contributions of other governments. Representatives from various other states, cities, and even countries have already expressed interest in deploying the IT Dashboard, including Chicago, New York, West Virginia, and the Netherlands.

Learn more about the opensourcing on Civic Commons. A live demo of the opensourced IT Dashboard is available, and the code is itself is hosted at SourceForge and available along with the TechStat Toolkit at CIO.gov


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Abhi Nemani is the Director of Strategy and Communications at Code for America. He has worked closely with technology firms, political organizations, and local governments, leveraging technology to grow their impact, including the Rose Institute, Center for American Progress, and Google.

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To the side note, http://drupal.org/node/1100308

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