‘Tis the Season: The Gift of FITARA

Christmas is coming, and some Federal CIOs may wish for FITARA to go away.

They should come up with a new list. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) is here to stay. Not all CIOs view FITARA as a lump of coal – 84 percent of Feds are optimistic about the law’s impact, according to MeriTalk. Some think the law is the right solution at the right time.

But change is hard and questions remain.

So MeriTalk will host the second FITARA Forum next week where lots of smart people will be on hand to answer questions about the IT reform law.

Naughty List

The IT subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month put agencies on notice when they issued scorecards measuring progress on four key areas of FITARA. It resembled a naughty list because of the poor grades. Those grades didn’t go over too well with some CIOs who thought they were making progress on issues like data center consolidation.

Well, it turns out that only a few agencies account for the bulk of the savings on data center consolidation, but was the subcommittee too harsh in its assessment?

“I respectfully disagree” with the failing grade, Danny Harris, CIO at the Education Department, told House Oversight and Government Reform committee members during a Nov. 19 hearing on his department’s cybersecurity efforts.

So it depends on whom you ask, and we’ll hear a lot at the FITARA Forum about the subcommittee’s first attempt to rate agencies when a panel of CIOs tackles the weighty issue of the “FITARA Scorecard–Making the Grade.”

Snow Globe

FITARA is as much about transparency as it is about lowering IT costs and giving CIOs the budget authority to cut those costs. By the end of the month, we’ll be able to view IT spending as if agencies were in a snow globe.

That’s because FITARA directs agencies to post those implementation plans by Dec. 31. Only the Agriculture Department and National Science Foundation have done that so far. Most agencies are awaiting final approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on implementation plans.

Once all agency plans are approved, OMB also will post the information online. Now that’s transparency. Just like a snow globe.

Remember to join us Dec. 9 at the FITARA Forum when we discuss the latest information about the one-year-old IT reform law. And let us know what you think–is FITARA a gift for CIOs?

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