The results of the 13th FITARA scorecard, a program developed in 2015 to measure and incentivize agencies to meet key IT modernization goals, were released in January leading to a discussion of what is next for this measurement program.
The latest results showed modest improvements, but scores for the most part have remained steady over the past two measurement cycles. On this scorecard, 13 agencies maintained the same scores from July 2021 with seven earning higher marks. A handful of agencies received lower overall marks, due primarily to their inability to transition from a legacy contract vehicle to the new preferred government-wide Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) for telecommunication technology. A March 31, 2022, deadline to move 90% of work to EIS should push many of these scores back up for the next report card.
Knowing there is still a lot of work to do in terms of modernization, the committee that oversees the program has begun discussing new measures to better reflect the current state of government IT and support recent executive-level initiatives around modernization, security, and customer service.
Data Center Consolidation Marked as Complete
This report saw every agency receive an "A" grade for Data Center consolidation. This reflects agencies' ability to comply with the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) launched in 2016. Efforts have resulted in several thousand data center closings (still leaving 1,600 data centers), saving approximately $4 billion from fiscal 2016-2021. With all agencies meeting data center goals, this measurement will be retired for the 14th installment of the scorecard.
A New Look at Cybersecurity
Focus will shift from the efficiency of data centers to their security. While this scorecard did not award any failing grades in the cybersecurity category, the committee agreed that expansion of cyber measurement needs to happen. Only two agencies earned "A" grades. Committee members raised concerns about both the value and accuracy of the cybersecurity grades. Current and former CIOs said the FITARA scorecard cyber grades do not accurately reflect the progress they are making. Instead, these cyber professionals say the scorecard should look to the most recent executive order on cybersecurity to serve as a blueprint for what federal agencies should be doing to enhance their cybersecurity position. This could improve the confidence in the validity of cybersecurity scores if the scorecards measured against these goals.
Measuring The People Side of Modernization
Suggestions for FITARA improvements also included adding a way to measure customer experience as well as technology workforce goals. This includes measuring what agencies are doing to build the Federal IT and cyber workforce in terms of attracting, retaining, and training employees with cybersecurity skills. Similar to using the Cyber EO as a guide for security progress, the committee also suggested using the Customer Experience (CX) Executive Order as a way to measure digital and mobile modernization projects.
Additional suggestions for future grading categories included modernizing legacy IT systems, budgeting to include Technology Business Management principles, and infrastructure improvement including cloud adoption metrics.
GovEvents and GovWhitePapers have a host of resources to help agencies meet new (and existing) measurement goals.
- Accelerating Agency Innovation: Driving Your Team, Tech and Mission Forward (February 16, 2022; webcast) - What does it mean to be truly innovative in government? The answer can be far-ranging, including everything from a new way to fix a pothole to a data center reconfiguration or enhanced diversity, equity and inclusion policies. It can be small, incremental changes or enterprise shifts. Learn how agencies are pushing them and their teams forward.
- 2022 ICIT Virtual Briefing | Playing to Win: Using Gamification to Prepare Tomorrow's Workforce (February 24, 2022; online) - In this briefing, cybersecurity gamification experts will discuss their successes in using this tool to combat the talent and knowledge shortages and their recommendations for leaders looking to maximize this powerful method of learning. At the end of this briefing, leaders will have a strategic understanding of how they can leverage gamification in their current and future workforce.
- IT Mod Week (February 28-March 4, 2022; various locations and virtual) - During IT Mod Week, thousands of C-suite leaders from the government, tech, and education communities will come together online, and in person, to participate in community-driven events, interactive sessions, talks, and networking opportunities. The goal? To connect, collaborate, and share the kinds of big ideas that will drive transformative change.
- MerITocracy 2022: American Innovation Forum (July 21, 2022; Washington, DC) - In partnership with Hill and White House leadership, as well as industry visionaries, this event will underscore the requirement for tangible outcomes and practical operational plans. MerITocracy will focus on creative thinking around critical issues that sit at the nexus of policy and technology: education and workforce, global competitiveness, security and privacy, healthcare, and citizen services.
- Preparing Federal IT for a Zero Trust Architecture (white paper) - In a recent roundtable panel, distinguished participants from both federal agencies and industry shared best practices to help agencies and their partners in industry respond to the challenge of adopting a Zero Trust model.
- How Federal Agencies Can Reskill Workforce to Ensure Digital Transformation (white paper) - Read highlights from a discussion among federal government agencies about how to align re-skilling the federal workforce with the advancing digital landscape. Panelists shared insights on the various re-skilling challenges and solutions encountered in public service. Several solutions to begin addressing federal workforce re-skilling were discussed, but participants agreed workforce training is a continuous process that should be accessible to employees and encouraged by supervisors.