Transparency has been a buzzword of the Obama administration from day one. “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency,” wrote Obama in a memo released the day after he was sworn in. Still unclear is what transparency actually means, and how the government contracting community should position itself to help with implementation. For ideas, ExecutiveBiz recently turned to Donna Ryan, senior vice president at CGI. The call for transparency we are now seeing is unprecedented, says Ryan. “I have never, in my time, seen government mandates that require agencies to have to turn on a dime,” says Ryan, who’s been with CGI over 20 years. Here Ryan offers her take on how Obama’s call for transparency might play out and how you can be part of this mission-critical program.
Transparency “” we“™re hearing that word a lot from the Obama administration. It“™s still unclear, however, what that word means and how it will play out. Any ideas?
Donna Ryan: It“™s true, there hasn“™t been a lot of clarity on what exactly this means. That said, we have a general sense. Agencies spend a lot of time creating financial statements every year, huge books of numbers and programs. However readership is limited; most of the public is not going to pick up an agency“™s financial statement and try to read it. Yes, the numbers are there and there“™s transparency, however it“™s not meaningful. So, a key part of transparency is, how to provide transparent information in an “easy to read and understand” format with terminology that“™s meaningful to the general public.
What role can the commercial sector play in helping define transparency?
Donna Ryan: I think it“™s a partnership. I don“™t think that one side [government] or the other [industry] can get to the end game all by themselves. There is a lot we can do in partnership. For example, we [industry] can help agencies leverage their existing ERP systems to provide the transparency and accountability that the Recovery Act requires.