Creating a winning Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) proposal includes thoughtfully crafting a business case, and detailing how the proposal aligns with the agency’s mission, said Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat on July 15 at IBM’s Think Gov Digital 2021 event.

She also advised agencies to cut to the chase amid the very busy TMF board’s consideration of more than 100 proposals, and explain why their plans can solve hard business problems.

“You have to get to the point,” said Roat. “In the initial project proposals, the intent is really that low burden, that pre-screen. We want to maximize the number of projects.”

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“The board is looking for the mission alignment, that [the proposal] is mission-focused, the partnership with the CFO … It’s about solving a hard business problem,” she added.

TMF recently received an influx of $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act and relaxed repayment requirements that had served as an impediment to agencies applying for funding.

The newly flexible repayment rules, Roat says, have “really been a game changer,” especially as building out a data architecture or cybersecurity projects have not always produced “tangible savings or cost avoidance.”

Roat also noted how impressed the TMF Board been thus far with the number of proposals received, and the focus of many of those on cybersecurity.

“Certainly, we’re really impressed with the number of proposals we received to date already,” said Roat.

“We’ve got a lot that have come in and we are really looking at a lot of the cross-cutting opportunities across the Federal government, so addressing Federal-wide challenges, and not just the agency enterprise, but really taking an eye towards those Federal-wide capabilities and what really needs to happen in that space.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.