How to Approach IT Modernization in 2021
A new year, a new administration. As with any political shift, uncertainty abounds when it comes to the policies and priorities instituted by new federal leaders.
President Joe Biden appears to see the importance of IT modernization and technology upgrades within the federal government. His administration has recently requested a $9 billion boost for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF)—marking a dramatic increase over the $25 million it received in fiscal year 2020.
TMF’s mission is “to enable agencies to reimagine and transform the way they use technology to deliver their mission and services to the American public in an effective, efficient, and secure manner.”
With every administration also comes a new President’s Management Agenda (PMA). It appears that in President Biden’s PMA, IT modernization will continue to be one of the “key drivers of transformation.”
After the PMA is released, these goals and priorities will make their way into the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) management framework of Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals. As part of CAP, an important functional priority area focuses on improving outcomes through federal IT spending transparency, and it reads:
“The Federal Government will adopt Technology Business Management (TBM) government-wide by FY 2022. This approach will improve IT spending data accountability and transparency, empowering agency executive suite leadership from across the enterprise to drive mission value and improve customer experience through technology.”
By mandating the use of Technology Business Management (TBM) by FY 2022, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is trying to help agencies run IT more like a business through improved transparency and accountability.
And it’s not just how much money is spent on IT, but how that spending helps agencies meet their goals and serve citizens. Equally as important, the TBM Taxonomy is designed to create a common language for IT, Business, and Finance leaders across each agency to better communicate progress on this mission-critical initiative.
The current landscape of IT Modernization
Across the government, the pressure to modernize the IT infrastructure continues to grow. As systems continue to age and cyber threats get more sophisticated, much of the annual IT budget is consumed just to maintain existing legacy systems.
As agencies adopt TBM as their IT management framework, they’re activating a standardized methodology to categorize IT costs, technologies, resources, applications, and services. TBM is enabling these organizations to separate IT spending into smaller, consistent categories.
The ultimate goal? To empower CIOs and other agency leaders with a more accurate and detailed understanding of their IT costs.
As a result, CIOs are better equipped to manage their IT spending the way commercial businesses account for other types of spending. The TBM taxonomy requires them to think about IT spending in terms of the costs of a service or of providing a capability, rather than thinking in terms of servers and software licenses.
What’s to come in 2021?
While IT modernization has been a priority for decades, it’s never been more important for government agencies to make demonstrable progress in modernizing their systems.
In many ways, IT modernization initiatives and the TBM Taxonomy are no different than planning and executing strategic plans.
There are numerous moving parts, across a multitude of initiatives, that all share resources throughout the larger organization.
To successfully connect, manage, and execute their most important plans and initiatives, agency leaders need an effective system. One that will help them establish uniformity in data collection and reporting, enable proper visibility to identify execution gaps, and instill accountability across the organization.
Unfortunately, most planning and execution processes are broken. Most organizations turn to what they already have and know to help organize, drive, and report on their progress.
Some might use project management or business intelligence tools, but the majority resort to Excel and PowerPoint. These tools are simply not built for plans that are integrated and span across departments and locations.
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