The Federal CIO Council recently released a case study focusing on Technology Business Management (TBM) adoption rates at a single bureau within the Department of Justice (DOJ). The study will be used as part of the council’s commitment to guide agency-wide adoption of TBM. The results are promising. DOJ officials concluded that TBM “can help IT managers make better decisions and effectively communicate the value of IT to agency leadership.”
DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a small employee bureau focused on adjudicating immigration cases and administering U.S. immigration laws, three years ago began an IT transparency effort by creating an internal categorization of IT spending. The initial effort created visibility into expenditures and allocations of IT resources. With the recent advent of the standardized TBM framework, EOIR decided to adopt TBM, recognizing its strong alignment with the agency’s ongoing transparency efforts.
TBM encompasses a business model and decision-making framework that enables IT to be run as a business. It gives IT organizations strategies, methodologies and tools to manage the cost, quality, and value of IT services. Based on transparency of costs, consumption, and performance, TBM supplies IT leaders, as well as their industry and business partners with the facts and data they need to collaborate on business-aligned decisions.
The General Services Administration (GSA), a partner with the CIO Council in the TBM initiative, last year was the first Federal agency to adopt the TBM taxonomy, an implementation that has been “largely successful,” according to Dominic Sale, GSA’s deputy associate administrator. Last March, GSA began formulating a governmentwide TBM acquisition vehicle.
CIO Council officials say that TBM “increases insights into IT metrics that drive informed IT, financial, acquisition, and human resource decisions. The standard taxonomy also allows agencies to benchmark their spending not only against other Federal agencies, but also against businesses in the private sector.”
Officials from DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review stressed that they began the TBM implementation with adequate cost-transparency data but still faced challenges including infrastructure data that was incomplete. The team expects such data gaps to be identified and closed as implementation moves along. Another challenge is communicating the value of TBM to leadership, especially regarding how the agency can benefit from additional IT cost transparency.
“CFOs, for example, can benefit by being able to make informed financial decisions regarding IT spend and senior leadership can engage in more data-driven discussions about how IT can best support mission goals,” according to the case study. EOIR officials are currently working on a “robust rollout plan” that will demonstrate the value of the TBM initiative to top leaders and other C-suite executives.
Among lessons learned, EOIR officials said that procuring TBM software isn’t necessarily the first step in TBM implementation. “Before initiating any procurement actions, [the TBM team needs to] gather and analyze data and identify which costs should be initially modeled,” the case study said. Another lesson was that the TBM journey can yield numerous benefits, including data cleanup and silo reduction.
While TBM has been widely adopted in the private sector, the Federal government is still early in the process. For officials at DOJ, however, the EOIR case study demonstrates the promise TBM ultimately holds for major goals such as IT cost savings and smarter IT spending in the Federal government.
“TBM helps us move closer to data-driven decision making,” said Mike Barylski, director for governance, planning, and support at DOJ.