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Progress At The White House: A TBM In Every Pot

Eveline Oehrlich
Vice President, Research Director
July 25, 2017

I was fortunate to participate in a historic morning gathering last week at the White House! Industry-leading private sector CIOs discussed and shared their technology business management (TBM) best practices, approaches, and ideas with CIOs and technology leaders of federal agencies. The White House leader for strategic initiatives kicked off the morning by setting expectations for leveraging TBM within the government. The goal is to gain more transparency in IT costs and improve the accuracy of technology cost accounting to support budget formulations and efficiency of technology acquisitions.

This first meeting of sharing best practices is part of a larger endeavor of the federal government to support the April 2014 launch of Smarter IT Delivery. The goal of Smarter IT Delivery is to improve citizen satisfaction with federal technology services, set up effective processes to drive outcomes and accountability, and collaborate with the most innovative companies.  Driven by former US government CIO Tony Scott, it includes four goals: Drive value in federal IT investments; deliver world-class digital services; protect federal IT assets and information; and develop the next-generation IT workforce.

To support this, Scott enforced the full implementation of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) across all federal agencies. To improve implementations, The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is part of the Executive Office of the President, released implementation guidance to aid these federal agencies in its implementation of FITARA.

The three key aims of FITARA are: Enable effective planning, programming, budgeting, and execution for IT resources; provide transparency on IT resources across entire agencies and programs; and give proper visibility and involvement of the agency CIO in the management and oversight of IT resources across key initiatives such as cyber security. These goals are the same goals of TBM. 

To recap, TBM is the adoption of tools and processes to shift the management of technology costs to technology value, enabling and supporting the acceleration of the business technology agenda.

The goal for this White House summit on TBM was to bring together CIOs and technology leaders of both private and federal agencies so each can learn from the others.

The agenda included sharing of best practices on the following topics:

  • How to insert a discipline of managing technology across the technology organization.
  • How this discipline can become a game changer for technology leaders.
  • How TBM can help technology organizations improve the value of technology for customers/citizens, employees, and shareholders.
  • How to create and enforce accountability for business and technology leaders alike.

After CIOs of organizations such as Exxon Mobile, AIG, Newport News Shipbuilding, the State of Washington, and the University of Pennsylvania shared their initiatives, ideas, and guidance, leaders of key federal agencies such as the General Services Administration, the Department of Justice, and the Office of Personnel Management discussed their TBM current adoption efforts, vision for improving the value of federal IT spending, and best practices.

The morning finished with the acting federal CIOs encouraging federal agencies to join the TBM framework.

This was certainly not the last we will hear of this combined team. The buzz during the breaks was a refreshing feeling of alignment between public and private institutions, realizing that they are all facing the same challenges in showing the value of technology to their customers and citizens. They all know they must make this a priority. Your business must also make TBM a priority.

I am excited as an analyst and a citizen of this country to see such commitment and it was my civic duty to spread the word. My research agenda for the reminder of the year includes TBM best practices, adoption models, benefits, and role and responsibility descriptions. Feel free to reach out to discuss your challenges or questions or share your success.

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