As a kid, some of my friends would hide their report cards from their parents when they received a bad grade. Eventually, the parents would realize they hadn’t seen the quarter’s progress report and looked into why. When they found out, they’d be doubly upset. Not only was there a bad grade, but their kid had try to hide the result. So, as my friends contemplated their mistake from the confines of their rooms, they learned, you can run, but you can’t hide. This also holds true in governmental practice as well. In the federal government, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) is that parent and they’re monitoring the progress. The GAO evaluates how well the government is performing on modernizing its IT infrastructure using, you guessed it, a report card.
In 2014, Congress passed the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA). The law places the control and accountability of each agency’s IT assets and investments under the direct responsibility of that agency’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). FITARA establishes transparency of IT issues and progress, revealing the IT ‘health’ of an agency. This past May, the GAO issued its sixth scorecard (Scorecard 6.0) since FITARA was enacted.
Between Nov. 2017 (Scorecard 5.0) and May 2018 (Scorecard 6.0), only six of the 24 agencies governed by FITARA, raised their scores. Seven agencies had no score change, while 11 achieved lower scores. So, how does scoring help agencies improve in their IT modernization efforts?
Measuring IT for Improvement
This latest scorecard—Scorecard 6.0—provided much needed insight into the methodologies used by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The methodologies, metrics, calculations and well-defined data points were provided with the necessary level of detail to clearly highlight how well each agency was performing.
Scorecard 6.0 featured two new categories: The Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGTA) and the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA). The MGTA tracks agency progress on working capital funds – a category that benefitted many of the agencies. FISMA relates to cybersecurity and agency progress on implementing new security programs and monitoring networks. Sadly, 18 agencies received grades of D or F, in this category. Clearly, there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done.
Along with category additions, this is the first time there’s been movement regarding the status of CIOs reporting within their agency. If CIOs didn’t report to the agency’s secretary or deputy secretary, that agency’s score dropped a full letter grade. Other categories include transparency and risk management, portfolio review, Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) and software licensing.
Tech Data Can Help Improve Grades
The detailed scorecard has provided agencies with the roadmap to success. According to the old adage, “the journey starts by putting one foot in front of the other.” How fast agencies get there is up to them, but their grade will be based on how quickly they learn and respond. With our public sector and technology experts, strategic alliances, training resources and services, Tech Data Government Solutions can provide you with expert support, helping government agencies modernize their systems, increase efficiency and drive effectiveness.
About the Author
Milo Speranzo is the director of strategy and compliance for Tech Data Government Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tech Data. He’s dedicated to enhancing the speed, efficiency and technical capabilities among public sector businesses and organizations. In this role, Milo is responsible for driving the vision, strategy, revenue, profitability and compliance of Tech Data Government Solutions. He has more than 20 years of experience leading and consulting public sector businesses.