FITARA is Evolving and Agencies are Keeping Up

The ninth Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Scorecard, released in December, showed promising progress in meeting goals and in holding agencies accountable for their modernization efforts. For the first time, three different agencies earned an "A" or higher. The General Services Administration and Department of Education both received an "A+" and The United States Agency for International Development got an "A." This scorecard was the only time a failing grade was not handed out. Overall, agencies have upped their scores from a "D" average on the first scorecard in 2015 to a current "C+" average.

Scores are not the only thing that has increased. What is being measured has also grown. The first scorecard only measured four areas -- data center consolidation, IT portfolio review savings, incremental development, and risk assessment transparency. The latest version has nine subcategories that include measuring progress against recently enacted legislation.

Big gains in scores were found in regard to compliance with the Megabyte Act, legislation that aims to improve the way agencies manage their software licenses. Gains were also found in giving CIOs more authority. In fact, the reporting found that 22 agencies had permanent CIOs, two had acting CIOs and, of those, 16 reported directly to leadership.

Progress on data center consolidation also continues, though not without controversy. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) voiced concern with the Office of Management and Budget's latest guidance on data center consolidation that changes the language to "optimization" and not "consolidation." He argued that consolidation is what frees up capital and drives cost savings, an area where agencies still struggle.

The report showed that agencies are not making quick progress on the goals of creating working capital funds as laid out in the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act. Sixteen of twenty-four agencies received a mark of a "C" or below on the MGT evaluation.

To keep this upward momentum going, agencies need to stay abreast of new technologies and tactics. Here are some events that can help increase scores:

  • 2020 Procurement Forum (March 19, 2020; Falls Church, VA) -- Produced by the Potomac Officers Club, this event looks at budget priorities of federal agencies, including how they are funding projects evaluated by FITARA. Discussions will include commercial items acquisition, technology modernization, and efforts at industry collaboration/communication.
  • Public Sector TBM Summit (March 25, 2020; Washington, DC) -- The 2020 Public Sector Technology Business Management (TBM) Summit will explore the evolution of the TBM ecosystem and how IT leaders are using automation and insights to spur innovation, demonstrate value, and create partnerships that maximize agency success. The event will feature keynotes from some of the most prominent & successful CIOs in the U.S. public sector today to inspire and educate attendees with stories of transformation, modernization, and cost reduction.
  • How to Start (or Revive) an EA Program: Making the Case for Change (April 29-30, 2020; online training) -- This two-day online workshop focuses on how Enterprise Architecture (EA) practitioners can either revive or establish an enterprise architecture program that is connected to business drivers and relate the cost of the practice to business value. Workshop participants will learn how to change organizational stakeholders' and leadership perception of EA. This hands-on workshop provides the tools and resources to build an EA practice roadmap.
  • Digital Transformation Workshop (June 9, 2020; Washington, DC) -- As a holistic approach to IT, digital transformation requires a fundamental rethinking of how organizations operate, the disruption of silos, and greater collaboration throughout an organization. This workshop explores the outcomes of digital transformation, including retooled business processes, workplace culture and change management, and data analysis and continuous process improvement.

Let us know what you are seeing agencies do to raise their FITARA scores in the comments. Visit GovEvents for more government events worldwide.

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