The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) annual member survey aimed to get a picture of what is currently happening in IT implementation at the state level. It focused on how states are funding their IT work and how they are implementing key technologies.
Show Me the Money
The survey found that state CIO offices have a median budget of $132 million, with high levels of federal funding resulting from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the American Rescue Plan, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. But with the level of modernization needed to meet citizen expectations of digital government, that frequently is not enough.
States are increasingly moving to a "chargeback" model where IT funding comes from the business unit where it is used. For example, the Human Resources Department would be responsible for paying for the licenses and development costs of their HR information system, rather than that being seen as an overhead expense funded out of IT. This model allows CIOs to use more of their budget for large-scale IT modernization projects that stretch over many years and impact multiple departments.Continue reading →
Agile is not a technology but rather an approach. As such, the barriers to adoption are not technical, they are cultural. Moving to Agile requires a complete shift in thinking from waterfall development. No longer is it feasible to set requirements at the beginning of the project and then design to those specifications, not launching until the whole system is complete. Rather, Agile works more in line with the pace of today, emphasizing constant communication to introduce change into the development process and encouraging small elements of the end solution to be released throughout the project lifecycle. Use of Agile in government has come a long way, but there is still room for improvement in how agencies meet digital goals and expectations.Continue reading →
The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) was created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 to more quickly fund needed modernization projects across government. With TMF, agencies can apply for funding to complete modernization activities without having to wait for the budget cycle to begin work on critical digital initiatives. Funding is incremental to ensure projects are working as expected.
Agencies must repay the investment either using the cost savings achieved with the tech implementation or through future budget allocations. The model is working. Of the 11 initial projects to receive TMF funding, two agencies have already reimbursed the fund, and five others have completed their projects and are in the process of reimbursement.
After issuing the last set of Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scores, the parties responsible for the program said they would begin examining ways to evolve the measurements to be more meaningful to today's modernization goals. The latest report was issued in July of 2022 and reflected a shift to new measures resulting in eight agencies with declining marks and 15 agencies holding steady with the previous grades. This backslide and stasis is not bad news and was expected given the removal of data center consolidation goals, an area all agencies had mastered with "A" scores.
This 14th FITARA scorecard should be viewed as a measure of where agencies are in relation to newer IT modernization goals. One such measure that drove low scores is the fact that many agencies have not fully transitioned to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract. Numerous agencies report that they are close to finalizing the plans to do so and could be compliant with this measure by the next report.Continue reading →
There's no shortage of mandates and guidance related to modernization-PMA, Technology Modernization Fund, FITARA, Cyber EO, CX EO-pushing the government to update how they deliver services online, but what does it really mean, and what is involved?
Modernization in government began with transforming data centers and integrating cloud computing into government IT architectures and moved on to improving customer experience. Agencies have made inroads in all areas. The recent FITARA scorecard showed that data center consolidation goals have been completed. Cloud efforts have moved from Cloud First to Cloud Smart in an effort to ensure cloud was just not a checkbox but was being used to transform how the government consumes and distributes IT services. Citizen Experience (CX) has been a priority across three administrations with the next generation of CX efforts outlined in an executive order. These modernization efforts have resulted in billions of dollars in cost savings and increased efficiency for a government workforce that is now telework friendly, but the work is not done.Continue reading →