IT Priorities Snapshot: Department of the Interior

Published: June 10, 2015

BudgetCloud ComputingForecasts and SpendingDOI

Federal agencies prepare various budgets and plans to realize their strategies; in turn, these priorities help to highlight opportunity areas for contractors. These agency documents include business cases from agencies’ FY 2016 budget requests, which provide insight into where government is relying on contractors as well as critical capabilities they are looking to develop.

As previously noted with the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, and Department of Energy, exploring agency priorities often focuses on investments with high total dollar value. This spring board for discussion of business opportunities risks making assumptions about what portion of spending will be used to acquire goods and services from government contractors. Once the funding dedicated to supporting government staff is removed from consideration, spending levels offer a better view of the planned role for contractors.

At the Department of the Interior, the top five investments by requested funding for FY 2016 combine to make up over 61% of Interior’s entire IT budget. Infrastructure spending dominates these top investments, which also account for the greatest amounts of contractor addressable funds. The top ten of these investments combine to account for over $643 million in requested contractor addressable spending. As a whole, technology investments at the Department of the Interior show a strong reliance on contractor goods and services, averaging 74% contractor addressability.

Historically, spending associated with technology development, modernization, and enhancement (DME) could provide a strong indication of future contractor opportunities. In recent years, however, agencies have increasingly used operational spending to fund upgrades and ongoing requirements. This shift makes the DME category less reliable as a means to gauge future opportunities. The Department of the Interior reports approximately 8% of its requested FY 2016 IT spending will support DME.  Modernization efforts include consolidation of email services, security policy development, and improvement of network performance. With less than $85 million slated for these efforts across the entire department, it’s clear that many upgrade activities will draw on operations and maintenance funding.

The Interior Department’s IT budget includes planned spending for over 200 investments in FY2016, department-wide investments total 76% of these funds. Enterprise capabilities continue to be a priority, including network optimization, shifting towards unified messaging, advancing information management capabilities, and consolidating wireless communications. Through the Department of the Interior’s IT Transformation activities commodity IT to support 70,000 employees are being consolidated to achieve efficiencies, reduce duplication, and improve services.  The enterprise email system has achieved savings by replacing 14 disparate email systems with a single messaging system for the department including email, instant messaging, desktop video conferencing, and messaging archive. The Department also plans to further consolidate its infrastructure footprint by moving to cloud hosted environments or six core data centers. Implementation of a department-wide, cloud hosting will enable greater consolidations and efficiencies as well as offering a shared service across the government.