The Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s recently updated memorandum on the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) was released in mid-June urging agencies to revitalize their information technology practices. FITARA aims to culturally shift Chief Information Officer (CIO) involvement and ownership of technology acquisitions, program management and enterprise-wide integration within agencies and across departments. The Act also pushes CIOs to update policies and procedures, strengthen management controls and respond to an increased number of reporting requirements. The opportunity for CIOs to take on more authority and shared responsibility for IT programs across their organizations can profoundly impact the way the federal government as a whole approaches IT investments. The top three benefits of a successful FITARA implementation could include the following:
- Increased transparency of taxpayer dollar investments. There are over 3000 acquisition offices across the federal government’s robust procurement community, which makes it challenging to understand exactly what the government is purchasing with 80B of taxpayer dollars each year. FITARA encourages CIOs to establish lifecycle governance processes that increase the planning, budgeting, oversight, execution and accountability of IT resources and services. A centralized governance approach would also enable the department and its components to identify technology redundancies and streamline investments for future savings.
- Integrated systems with cleaner data. Data analytics continues to play a vital role in how federal organizations successfully conduct their missions, to include how they allocate limited resources, evaluate program performance and manage customer satisfaction levels. As a result, it is important for IT systems to house accurate and timely data. If the various IT systems in use are not integrated across an agency’s functional workflows, then end users would have to perform duplicate data entry. Integrated systems not only eliminate the time for end users to perform unnecessary tasks, but they can decrease the likelihood of inaccurate or missing data in one or more systems, to include the system of record.
- Improved implementations with expert involvement. Federal government IT purchases and implementations often occur in a silo, where one function, component or regional branch makes a major IT investment decision with limited to zero input from secondary or tertiary stakeholders. As the organization’s IT strategy expert, a CIO can drastically improve an organization’s understanding of the competitive landscape and how an organization collaborates to evaluate alternatives prior to deciding on the final investment. Furthermore, CIOs can serve as internal consultants to help less tech savvy elements of the organization understand their options for new investments, plan the implementation of and transformation to a new system, or determine how to best utilize the functionality of their current systems.
OMB Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/2015/m-15-14.pdf
Z Street Consulting’s Infographic – The Landscape of Federal Shared Services https://zstreetconsulting.com/infographic-032515/
Z Street Consulting’s Weekly Roundup – Big Sharing and Big Data https://zstreetconsulting.com/wr-061815/
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