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FCW : May 15, 2016
Although it’s been nearly 16 months since President Barack Obama signed the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, westillhavealotofworktodoto strengthen the management of govern- ment’s IT. Considered one of the most sig- nificant IT reforms since the Clinger- Cohen Act, FITARA expands oversight of the almost $90 billion in federal IT spending. The law’s main objectives are: • Provide better visibility into agencies’ IT expenditures. • Improve risk management in IT investments. • Engage other senior officials in the oversight of IT investments. • Give more authority to the federal gov- ernment’s more than 250 CIOs to plan, approve and execute IT acquisitions. Those are lofty goals that share near-universal support. But are agen- cies making progress on implementing FITARA? What are some of the chal- lenges of implementation so far? Most important, what should your agency be doing now to seize the opportunity FITARA represents? Progress toward a common baseline There has been great progress since FITARA was passed. The Office of Management and Budget led a wide- ranging and transparent process to develop implementation guidance by holding hours and hours of listen- ing sessions with agency leaders, IT visionaries, private-sector IT experts and good-government groups, among others. The resulting guidance established the Common Baseline — a framework for agencies to implement the specific authorities FITARA gives agency CIOs. It also outlines the roles and responsi- bilities of other agency executives who are critical to achieving a more unified oversight of IT investments. Once the guidance was issued, agen- cies completed self-assessments to identify gaps in IT management. The deadline for having FITARA implemen- tation plans in place was Dec. 31, 2015; OMB and the General Services Admin- istration evaluated the plans. Federal CIO Tony Scott said he’s “pleased with the thought and effort behind the implementation plans,” though it is clear that agency CIOs and their col- leagues are wrestling with the challeng- es of implementing FITARA. An initial review of the self-assess - ments revealed that most agencies have critical gaps in at least one of the four functions of IT management: budget formulation, budget execu- tion, acquisition, and organization and workforce. The House Oversight and Govern- ment Reform Committee’s FITARA implementation scorecard confirmed that assessment when it graded agen- cies’ progress in four categories: data center consolidation, IT portfolio review savings, incremental devel- opment and risk assessment trans- parency. Seventy percent of agen- cies received a grade of D or F, two agencies received a B, and no agency received an A. Judging by the scorecard’s results, agencies have a long way to go to meet the act’s requirements. Implementation pain points Despite the progress made so far, real- izing FITARA’s goals will require more than the simple check-the-box compli- ance exercises that are all too familiar to many agencies. And because FITA- RA demands the coordination of stake- holder interests across many manage- ment areas — acquisition, budget and finance, and human resources, among others — it will take a major change in the stovepiped culture at many agen- cies, including OMB and GSA. Therefore, many agencies are wres- tling with some of the larger FITARA implementation “pain points,” including BY GEORGE DELPRETE It’s been nearly 16 months since the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act was signed into law, but there’s still much to do on the implementation front The keys to getting FITARA right DrillDown 30 May 15, 2016 FCW.COM SHUTTERSTOCK 0515fcw_030-032.indd 30 4/15/16 12:43 PM
April 30, 2016
May 30, 2016