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FITARA: A Good Start

The following is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent research brief, FITARA Implementation & How Government IT Communicates IT Costs. Download the full brief here

FITARA is important legislation that will give federal agencies a way to get a handle on their IT spending, Chartol said. “What is important is the authority it gives the CIOs around the IT spend in their agencies, which they lacked before,” Chartol said. “There are still opportunities for agencies to get better, in particular, around some of the standards around reporting, making sure that everybody’s doing it on an apples-to-apples basis.”

The implementation of recommendations suggested by the Federal Commission on IT Cost, especially those focused on the deployment of TBM, are also imperative.

Agencies are graded on four areas for the FITARA scorecard: data center consolidation savings, IT portfolio review savings, incremental development and risk assessment transparency.

Yet more than half of the agencies surveyed (54.9 percent) said implementation of FITARA is challenging (Figure 6). The public-sector survey respondents were asked what the most difficult requirement challenges of FITARA were for their agency to make progress on. Reporting and understanding their data (25.1 percent) was a top barrier to success, followed by data center consolidation (17.3 percent), risk assessment transparency (10.2 percent), IT portfolio review savings (8.2 percent) and incremental project development (7.8 percent), along with 31.4 percent of the respondents citing other challenges hampering FITARA progress.

Interestingly enough, 50.6 percent of the respondents said improving the FITARA scorecard is not a priority for their agency, while 49.4 percent said improving the scorecard is a priority.

This could be due to the fact that FITARA demands the coordination of stakeholder interests across a range of management areas that are often separated within their own cultures in many agencies, including acquisition, budget and finance and human resources, among others. Moreover, agencies have to interact with the General Services Administration and OMB, as well. Agencies will have to conduct more than check-the-box compliance exercises in order to ultimately realize FITARA’s goals, experts have noted.

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