The drive to implement technology business management standards has been largely calm over the past year. There was little public discussion among the agency’s chief information officers or chief financial officers.
The Bureau of Administration and Housekeeping did not publish any memos or guidelines in the past year advancing TBM until Circular A-11 was updated last July.
And even in A-11, the annual budget guideline, TBM is not directly mentioned – a priority since 2017. A-11 highlights TBM-related concepts such as the requirement for agencies to “complete the gradual implementation of more detailed IT cost reporting. While agencies are not expected to change the relevant data systems at this point, agencies should continue to divide costs into IT cost pools and IT towers. Over time, OMB will work with agencies to figure out how to automate the relevant data collection. “
While the pressure on the TBM at the OMB level was unremarkable, there is rumble from below. The CIO Council released a new guide developed by the Federal Technology Investment Management (FTIM) Community of Practice and the General Services Administration’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, titled “Meeting IT Priorities with TBM.”
The council said the guide “helps to illustrate how the transparency of IT costs can be improved through the TBM framework” and “to align priority activities with the four disciplines of TBM (transparency, value creation, business demand design and Planning and Management) for a more detailed description of how TBM can help achieve agency goals. “
Kelly Morrison, a former performance analyst in the office of OMB’s Federal Chief Information Officer and now director of TBM practice for Grant Thornton, said the new guide was important to CIOs, budget analysts and other staff in capital planning and investment control (CPIC)) Function for integrating TBM processes and for change management.
“The value of a policy, initiative, management framework, process or tool is based on use and use. Hopefully this guide will give the agencies a full overview and understanding of how TBM data and insights can be integrated and used in the various business processes and how stakeholders can be involved within the organization (s), ”she said. “By the time TBM data is used to inform the various processes, products and the overarching planning, programming, budgeting and execution lifecycle, agencies miss the opportunity to unlock the real value potential. This guide can be a useful map for agencies. “
New CPIC tool
At the same time, the GSA released a new tool for IT portfolio management, Folio.
“Developed by the eCPIC Federal Steering Committee (FESCOM) community, Folio is the successor to the eCPIC application that served as the leading government shared service for over 15 years,” the GSA wrote in a July 27 blog post. “It is a web-based, government-owned fee technology solution that enables agencies to manage and report to OMB their portfolio management, IT capital planning and IT governance processes. The new application offers an improved user interface, flexible data collection functions and a modern technology stack. “
According to the GSA, 17 agencies tested more than 13,000 records and migrated to Folio between March and July. The data covers more than 2,600 investments, more than 4,300 projects and 1,700 users.
Read more: Technology News
Taken together, these are the first new tools and guides agencies have when they hit the home stretch with their budget requests for 2022, which traditionally arrive at OMB in mid-September.
Agencies have specific deadlines for implementing TBM as part of their budget request for 2022, but the rise to apply these standards has been slow. As part of the President’s management agenda, the CIO Council’s Federal Technology Investment Management (FTIM) Community of Practice, with the support of ACT-IAC industry volunteers, will develop a maturity model for IT spending transparency. The current status of the maturity model is unclear.
Because of this, the new guide becomes important in educating IT and non-IT executives about how to use TBM. It seems like part of a refresher and part of initial training for a CFO or budget analyst learning about the standards.
“I encourage representatives from agencies outside of the TBM community to read this guide as it can help them understand how to engage and leverage the team leading the TBM effort,” said Morrison. “There has to be a partnership in which the agency uses the TBM framework as a groundbreaking management tool. It’s an uphill battle when a single team drives without organizational support and commitment.”
Applying TBM to IT priorities
In this guide, users will learn how TBM affects strategic IT plans or the federal law to reform IT acquisition, the CPIC process, or any number of priority initiatives such as data center consolidation and optimization or the CDM (Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation) program ) is applied.
“This document explains how agencies can use TBM as part of a greater IT cost transparency in order to meet IT priorities,” says the guide. “Each priority describes initiatives and related requirements from OMB guidelines, memos and / or laws. The guide below provides a zebra crossing to identify and understand how TBM can help meet relevant requirements. “
The ultimate goal of TBM, as some agencies have learned, is to get a better understanding of where they are spending money on technology and then make better decisions based on that data.
A 2018 survey by the TBM Council and Grant Thornton found that public and private sector CIOs struggle to become a trusted partner rather than just being seen as a cost center.
Read more: Reporter’s Notebook
Jim Gfrerer, assistant secretary of information and technology and CIO of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in a recent interview that the coronavirus pandemic is helping to break this cost center perspective.
“People often look at company costs and say, ‘What’s in it for me? Well, you have a highly functioning and efficient gateway for trusted internet connections, so that you also get access to the applications we have built. What good is the best and best application in the world without this reliable and long-lasting company? ” he said. “TBM allows us to see management in the human resources offices budget-wide and company-wide. We spend directly and indirectly on you to provide you with the services you so desperately need.”
Grferer said VA, like the private sector, must wonder when it will become a technology company delivering results in healthcare.
He said the pandemic has started drawing staff to this point of view.
“You really can’t shorten your technology as it becomes the critical and indispensable aspect of your care performance,” said Grferer. “The Veterans Health Administration’s motto is ‘Care Anywhere, Anywhere,’ and you can only do that with technology.”
And if you don’t know what that technology is costing, it becomes even more difficult to become a technology provider for mission outcomes.