I am having trouble explaining the magnitude for my excitement about the federal government’s massive entres into data transparency. In no time at all, Vivek Kundra has helped Obama and Co. rewrite the rules around the way the public sector looks at information and accountability.

Take www.usaspending.gov. For years, we consultants have worked with organizations public and private to address spending. “Strategic Sourcing,” as the phrase was coined by A.T. Kearney veterans, runs into the same barrier 9 times out of 10. Someone in purchasing has a bad contract, and the client is paying 50% more than they should be for staples or laptops or asphault for roads, but for one reason or another, they don’t want to shake that contract. In the public sector, the problem is 10x because public sector employees are not as directly incentivized by the bottom line. They are, however, motivated by public opinion.

So by posting all these contracts online, we get a chance to see that the “Cheyenne Mountain Complex/Integrated Tactical Warning /Attack Assessment,” a defense contract out to Lockheed Martin for $26.1M in 2009 spending (and it would be great to know the total contract value) has a contract variance of 167.84% and an average of 120 days late per milestone. I am not saying we don’t need this project, but I am pleased that it’s variance to plan is online and that as more citizens clue into these variances, those responsible for their delivery will no doubt tighten the reigns, when before they could proceed business-as-usual, the public none the wiser.

Add to this excitement my boundless energy for data.gov, a perhaps more ambitious project over which plenty of blog ink has been spilt. And better bloggers than I at that. The core of the concept, is taking what information is available and public…and making it available and public and accessible. What really matters to me is that there are massive implications for management consultants, data analysts, and the quantitative community at large who are paying attention. Entire business can and will be built around taking this now-accessible information, digesting it, and making it useful for businesses. Our President and our Federal CIO have taken the first step, and now it is our task to take the next.

What an exciting time it becomes as a result.

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