Press | October 23, 2016

Report scores FITARA scorecard, recommends improvements

By Tony Ware 

[This article originally appeared in Federal Times. Read here for the full article.]

The Censeo Consulting Group has taken a look at the congressional Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act scorecard (released May 18) and assembled 10 recommendations to improve FITARA.

Working with Cyrrus Analytics and Hettinger Strategy Group, Censeo gathered interviews with the offices of chief information officers within eight agencies under the Chief Financial Officers Act officials; the Office of Management and Budget and the Government Accountability Office; and other senior-level federal IT personnel to look at the issues with and solutions for the current scorecard metrics.

According to the survey, “FITARA at a Crossroads,” the program scorecard — which measures data center consolidation, risk transparency, IT portfolio review and incremental development — is incomplete and fails to collect data needed for meaningful progress in the seven program objectives. The survey said cross-government accountability is limited, the scorecard grading structure is flawed, and there is an inconsistent focus on objectives, a lack of implementation granularity and limited publicly available data.

For instance, many of those surveyed said agencies are focused on the Office of Management and Budget’s Common Baseline, which concentrates on the process of agency CIO authority enhancements rather than the outcomes desired by FITARA. The report said different interpretations of the mandates are leading to implementation fragmentation; a one-size-fits-all approach is impossible, so a more standard, detailed and transparent set of guidelines to FITARA implementation is needed to address disconnects.  

Recognizing the scorecard does have a valuable role in driving necessary policy and cultural changes to repair inefficiencies, the report recommended oversight evolution with better executive and legislative branch cooperation, enhanced accountability structure, and better data access.  

Enhanced communications can align focus, role clarification can empower, a formal FITARA working council can assist, reassessed scorecard methodology can introduce targeted goals, incentives can prompt better outcomes, a more prescriptive role for OMB can help implementation and transparency can benefit cost savings, according to the report.

Those involved with the report believe the cost and temporary discomfort of revisions to the FITARA road map and expanded scorecard will pay off in the nuances, resources and savings gained.