General Services Administration (GSA) CIO David Shive and Government Accountability Office Director of IT and Cybersecurity Kevin Walsh agreed that the FITARA scorecard is meeting its intended goals, but detailed specific improvements like the addition of a Technology Business Management (TBM) score to boost its effectiveness.

At the September 23 iteration of the AFFIRM virtual speaker series, Walsh paraphrased Chairman of the House Government Operations Subcommittee Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., reiterating that the FITARA scorecard is not meant to be a scarlet letter. “It is purely intended to start the conversation and in that regard the scorecard itself has been a dramatic success,” Walsh said. He continued, CIOs and other IT leaders have reported that because of the FITARA scorecard, they’ve been able to talk to component agencies that wouldn’t open the door for them before.

Adding to the conversation about FITARA successes, Shive remarked, “It’s all about increasing transparency so that executive decision makers can make better decisions.”

Walsh and Shive discussed scorecard preferences and tweaks that would improve Federal measurement of IT initiatives and agreed that a TBM approach could enhance measurements. TBM, when implemented effectively, standardizes IT spend to provide more clarity into investments.

“In the TBM transparency side,” Shive said, “it’s a good thing for an executive decision maker and CIO to be able to say I’ve made an investment in this thing – this software, this hardware, this contractor – and be able to demonstrate in business terms and business value what the outcome is.”

Walsh continued, “I would love to, at some point, not maybe the next scorecard but at some point down the line I can see TBM being used to refine the existing scorecard measures.” He explained it would provide transparency into spending on managed services, maintenance, and other expenditures.

As an example of how adding new categories to the scorecard impacts agencies, Walsh discussed the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) addition to FITARA scores. EIS data was not included on the latest edition of the scorecard, but just including it matters because “even the addition of EIS and agencies transition off networks to the scorecard has increased the amount of attention agencies are paying to it,” Walsh said.

On EIS, Shive added, “It’s been a good thing for GSA and ultimately a good thing for the Federal computing enterprise to find any number of accelerators and accelerants for EIS.”

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.