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Friday, December 9, 2022

GAO: Agencies Could Better Manage IT Resources

In 2017, the United States government began implementing the Technology Business Management framework to help federal agencies better manage their IT resources. This framework includes a standard set of categories that agencies are required to use in their annual IT budget requests. These categories group related IT expenses together, which could provide greater insight into the costs and values of IT resources. It could also enable government-wide comparisons of IT spending.

However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) currently requires agencies to only implement half of this framework. 

GAO says OMB and the General Services Administration (GSA) have taken steps to lead government-wide Technology Business Management adoption, but progress and results are limited. OMB’s initial 2017 plans for government-wide adoption required agencies to report IT spending using categories in the first two layers (cost pools and IT towers). OMB continued to require reporting of these two layers in subsequent plans. However, five years after establishing initial plans, OMB had not expanded on requirements to include the rest of the taxonomy—the categories in layers 3 and 4 (products and services, and business units and capabilities), and subcategories for all layers.

OMB and GSA assisted agency efforts to implement the Technology Business Management framework by, for example, developing implementation guidance and a maturity model assessment tool. However, GAO found that OMB and GSA have not assessed agency maturity. Further, they have not analyzed the quality of agencies’ data reported in the first two layers.

OMB and GSA released agency-reported data on the federal government’s IT Dashboard (layers 1 and 2), but did not disclose that about $31 billion in fiscal year 2021 investments were excluded. Further, they have not analyzed inconsistencies in fiscal year 2022 data, or addressed use of benchmarking that would enable spending comparisons to organizations of similar size or mission.

OMB and GSA officials maintain that Technology Business Management implementation continues to be a priority. Nevertheless, GAO says that until OMB establishes documented plans and agency expectations for the remainder of the taxonomy, uncertainty will cloud agency efforts. Further, the continuing absence of OMB direction could prevent the federal government from fully achieving intended benefits such as optimizing IT spending.

GAO is making seven recommendations to OMB and GSA, including establishing requirements for completing the remainder of the taxonomy, assessing maturity of agencies’ implementation, and addressing benchmarking use. 

Read the full report at GAO

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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