Apr 01 2022

GSA Unveils Updated Federal IT Dashboard with a New Look and Functionalities

The General Services Administration has spearheaded an overhaul of how the government tracks federal IT spending and progress on key programs.

Like a house that needs a remodel, the federal IT dashboard had grown a little long in the tooth. So, the General Services Administration decided to give it a full makeover.

On March 21, the GSA announced the launch of the new federal IT dashboard, the first major upgrade to the portal since the Office of Management and Budget rolled out the dashboard in 2009, during the Obama administration. 

According to the GSA, the new dashboard, which tracks federal IT spending and the progress agencies are making on key technology metrics and programs, features several improvements. It now leverages new software and technology to “provide users improved search functionality, interactive data visualization, and enhanced accessibility.” Additionally, the agency says, users can now directly access the data that underpins the dashboard via a publicly available API.

“As federal agencies make critical investments in upgrading their IT infrastructure and improving digital service delivery, it’s vital for the public to have visibility into how these dollars are being spent,” GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said in a statement. “By making information about federal IT management and spending more accessible and user-friendly, this new dashboard will incentivize agencies to be more efficient and effective, and offer valuable insights to our federal partners and the public.”

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GSA Gives IT Dashboard a Major Redesign

The new federal dashboard website looks new, and there is actually new back-end technology serving as its foundation.

As FedScoop reports, two applications, the IT Collect Application Programming Interface and the Office of Governmentwide Policy Visualization Platform, now power the dashboard. The modernized dashboard launched internally at GSA last September, FCW reports.

“We went ahead and actually split it up. We split up the back end data input from agency facing [and] from the public consumption, the external facing. So it’ll wind up being two applications. The public will only ever see the one,” Dan York, the director of IT data transparency for the Office of Governmentwide Policy at the GSA, tells Federal News Network.

Behind the scenes for agencies, York says, the IT Collect API will be an agency-facing API-only application to ingest data from federal agencies. The visualization platform is the front end that the public sees.

“When they go to itdashboard.gov, you’ll see all the pretty pictures that the visualization platform has to offer,” he adds.

The new dashboard follows development best practices outlined by the U.S. Digital Services, uses common web standards and ensures Section 508 accessibility compliance. It also allows users to conduct advanced searches by typing in keywords and then filtering down by agency, cost, CIO rating investment type or amount, and other factors.

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“If you don’t know quite what you’re looking for, but you want to see more about a thing, you can search the whole federal government’s IT portfolio for a couple of keywords and filter down to interactive visualizations,” York tells Federal News Network. “There’s the agency analysis pages that will allow the user to select data points within a set that they want to see, and which agencies they want to see the data for and then toggle on and off.”

Users can also create custom visualizations or custom data sets within a range, according to York. “We’re hoping it will be of great value as users will have the ability to access the data directly because we will post the API publicly,” he says.

The dashboard continues to report data on agencies’ progress on the Data Center Optimization Initiative and the transition to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract for network modernization.

The dashboard also continues to show data on overall federal IT spending, visualizations at the agency level of IT spending and information on cost savings. Additionally, the new portal will be more easily and quickly updated, according to York.

“The new IT dashboard will allow agencies and OMB to more regularly update the site and allow the public to see that data,” he says. “As opposed to submitting your whole Exhibit 53 like they do now, they can send an update for just the thing that needs to be corrected or just the part that needs to be updated. Then the public can see those updates over time.”

Kobus Louw/Getty Images

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