Federal CIO Kent details next steps for Technology Business Management effort

Suzette Kent speaks Oct. 24, 2019, at CyberTalks in Washington, D.C. (Scoop News Group)

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After more than two years exploring the adoption of Technology Business Management in the federal government, the Trump administration is now “moving forward” with implementation of the framework, giving agencies flexibility in how they apply it as they track and provide transparency around their IT spend, Federal CIO Suzette Kent said.

Technology Business Management (TBM) is a leading industry framework that businesses and organizations use to measure the value of their IT investments. But federal agencies come with a variety of sizes and missions, which has proven difficult for Office of Management and Budget and other stakeholders who have spent the past two years working to get on the same page and understand “both the framework for TBM and … how it applies in the federal government,” Kent said Wednesday.

“We spend more than $90 billion, that’s probably a number everyone’s familiar with. But are we spending it on the right things?” she said at the AFCEA Bethesda Health IT Summit. “Are we putting the right resources in the right place?”

In 2016, the nonprofit TBM Council reported that the federal government could save $5.8 billion IT spending by using the framework. In 2017, the White House hosted a TBM summit to convene IT and business leaders in government and industry around the topic.

Since then, the administration has been working to make it a common baseline for how CIOs communicate and measure their IT spend. The General Services Administration in 2018 conducted market research for how the federal government seeking can adopt TBM by fiscal 2022 as part of the President’s Management Agenda. Last year, GSA released a TBM playbook for how agencies can best adopt the framework.

Because there was no “silver bullet — there wasn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all everybody do this'” for TBM in the federal government, Kent said, OMB will move forward working with agencies to implement it while giving them “the flexibility to choose the tools that match with what they’re attempting to achieve.”

“There was a specific set of work around defining the standards and creating a standard report … and getting to a place across the steering committee where that worked for agencies of all sizes,” Kent said.

Meanwhile, she said OMB is “trying to wrap it in with financial management and category management initiatives” as ultimately this all leads back to the same person or group of people in agencies, such as agency procurement heads and chief financial officers because of the ties to acquisition and budgeting.

“Transparency of spend in federal government is a constant priority,” Kent said.

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General Services Administration (GSA), IT spending, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Suzette Kent, Technology Business Management
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