Initiative Explores Federal IT Performance Measurement and Mapping to Citizen Experience

Thursday at the FITARA Awards ceremony, a powerful group of government, Hill, and industry leaders will launch the public-private FITARA Forward Initiative.

Bringing together key stakeholders in government IT performance improvement, FITARA Forward aims to explore the future for the FITARA scorecard that grades Federal agencies on IT performance as well as agency and CIO IT budget accountability. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) serves as the honorary chair for the FITARA Awards, and will also be the honorary chair for FITARA Forward. The Government Technology Alliance, a 501(c)(3) organization, will manage the FITARA Forward Initiative in partnership with MeriTalk.

The scope of FITARA grading has morphed since the Hill issued the initial scorecard in 2015, but nine scorecards later it’s time to take a look at other scoring vectors – like citizen experience, digital service delivery, and cyber performance. The working group will also explore the potential to tie agencies’ FITARA progress to budget appropriations, and IT modernization funding mechanisms in the MGT Act and the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) that the MGT Act created.

“For the past four years, we have seen the FITARA Scorecard’s effectiveness in holding agencies accountable for implementing best IT acquisition and management practices, such as elevating the role of the Chief Information Officer at agencies,” said Rep. Connolly. “The evidence is in the evolution of agency grades on the FITARA Scorecard over nearly five years. For the Scorecard to continue to be effective, it may need to evolve to reflect the changing and improving nature of Federal IT in ways that are meaningful to agencies.”

Congress approved the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) in 2014 to spur Federal IT modernization and management improvements, and the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) debuted the FITARA Scorecard in 2015 with a focus on just four grading categories.

“We are optimistic about working with Congress to evolve the FITARA Scorecard,” said Federal CIO Suzette Kent. “We look forward to open conversation – building the future FITARA metrics so they reflect our continuously expanding use of technology to improve citizen services and mission delivery.”

“The value of FITARA is in the ongoing oversight for implementation of significant IT modernization across the federal government,” commented Rich Beutel, Founding Principle at Cyrrus Analytics. “We applaud the formation of a new public/private initiative to continue and accelerate the reforms codified by this important legislation.”

The FITARA Forward Initiative will kick off with a survey of agency mission owners and the American public to understand their Fed IT management and consumer priorities, aspirations, and pain points. The group will host an initial stakeholder meeting in March, followed by two working group meetings, and will deliver its recommendations to Congressman Connolly before the release of the FITARA 10.0 scorecard, anticipated in June.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.