The Federal government is making progress towards its goal of improving IT spending data accountability and transparency, according to a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal update released June 20.

The Improving Outcomes Through Federal IT Spending Transparency CAP Goal, which is part of the President Trump’s March 2018 President’s Management Agenda, calls for Federal agencies to work together to “improve business, financial, and acquisition outcomes; enable Federal executives to make data-driven decisions and analyze trade-offs between cost, quality, and value of IT investments; reduce agency burden for reporting IT budget, spend, and performance data by automating the use of authoritative data sources; and enable IT benchmarking across Federal Government agencies and with other public and private sector organizations.”

As part of this goal, the Federal government is working to adopt Technology Business Management (TBM) governmentwide by FY2022. The leaders in charge of this CAP Goal, which includes the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration (GSA), broke the goal down into three strategies: increase granularity in current IT portfolio; develop implementation guidelines and enabling mechanisms; and adopt and implement TBM across the Federal enterprise.

Strategy 1: Increase granularity in current IT Portfolio

In the most recent update, the leadership team reported that it was “on track” to achieve this strategy’s key milestone, having agencies adopt TBM standard IT Tower and Cost Pool to report categorized IT costs across the entire spend of the IT Portfolio. The leadership team also noted that as part of the FY2020 budget process, it received capital planning submissions from all 26 agencies. The submissions included a breakdown of all existing IT investment costs by TBM Towers and leadership noted that it saw continued migration from Non-Standard to Standard IT Investments to consistently capture Infrastructure, Security, and Management-related IT spending across all reporting agencies.

“The FY 2017 President’s Budget reported 84 percent of the total Federal IT budget categorized as ‘other,’ as opposed to being clearly tied to a specific IT category of spend,” the update reported. “Early use of TBM quadrupled the percentage of IT spending that could clearly be tracked to a specific cost category.”

Strategy 2: Develop implementation guidelines and enabling mechanisms

Under this strategy, the leadership team needs to accomplish seven milestones by Q4 FY2020, thus far the team has completed two and is “on track” to complete the others by the deadline. The update reported that a TBM Playbook, which the leadership team developed, has been released to agencies. The Playbook includes “considerations and lessons learned” from GSA and Department of Education’s TBM experience. Additionally, leadership partnered with ACT-IAC to release the TBM Value Conversation Paper, which is intended to “drive stakeholder engagement across agency leadership.” By next quarter, the CAP Goal team hopes to release a standardized Services taxonomy for Federal Government and standard Business Unit elements.

Strategy 3: Adopt and Implement TBM across the Federal enterprise

In its push to actually implement TBM across agencies, the leadership team has released government-wide implementation guidelines, templates, agency samples, and implementation plan template to Federal agencies. The update also noted that there has been a “1000 percent gain in Community of Practice membership from Q1FY17. Starting with 30 members in December 2016, the COP now has 300+ registered members and serves to foster a standard approach for Federal TBM adoption and offers a channel to share both lessons learned and successes between agencies.”

For this strategy, there are three key milestones that need to be met. While leadership is on track to meet one of the milestones, it has yet to start the other two. The looming deadline is for agencies, who will need to have a multi-year strategy to implement TBM by next quarter. Leadership needs to conduct government-wide communication and outreach for TBM implementation by Q3 FY2019. The third milestone is phased implementation of TBM between FY2020-FY2022, coming in the near future.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.