FITARA is Working – But It’s Not Getting an ‘A’

FITARA

A new survey from MeriTalk finds that 70 percent of Federal IT leaders surveyed believe that FITARA (the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act) has been effective in accelerating Federal IT modernization, with 68 percent agreeing that the law has improved Federal IT efficiency.

The survey results from MeriTalk – a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT – come just days ahead of the June 26 release of the FITARA 8.0 scorecard and hearing by the House Government Reform Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

The survey,“FITARA: Grading the Grader,” is underwritten by Dell Technologies and reveals how more than 200 Federal IT leaders view FITARA progress, challenges, and government tech spending.

The results of the 8.0 FITARA scorecard will be available in an easy to digest format on MeriTalk’s FITARA Dashboard – which will provide the 8.0 grades, as well as analysis and agencies’ grades over the years.

While FITARA has definitely made the honor roll, it’s not quite time to throw our caps in the air. Fewer than one in four Feds (23 percent) give FITARA an “A” for overall effectiveness. Why? It comes down to culture – 38 percent say they don’t feel the pain of a bad FITARA scorecard and another 38 percent see FITARA improvements as a long-term exercise, whereas they are focused on day-to-day results.

To underline the importance of FITARA success, Feds also weighed in on IT spending. While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports the Federal government will spend $92 billion this year on IT, Federal IT leaders estimate the actual spend to be much higher. When factoring in shadow IT, Feds say the real annual spend is approximately $171 billion – almost double OMB’s number.

What’s worse? Feds estimate 30 percent of the Federal government’s IT spend is either wasted or spent on duplicate programs; that’s $51 billion based on the total spending estimate above.

“These results clearly demonstrate that FITARA has been a driver in Federal IT reform,” said Rep. Connolly, (D-VA), who also is Chairman for the FITARA Awards. “Seventy percent of those surveyed recognize FITARA’s effectiveness and more than two-thirds believe FITARA has led to IT modernization and efficiency. We have a road map for moving forward and room for improvement, and I am confident the FITARA scorecard and this survey will continue to provide the transparency and accountability necessary to modernize Federal IT.”

Looking ahead to summer school, Federal IT leaders surveyed by MeriTalk offer recommendations for moving the IT modernization needle forward and boosting FITARA scores in 2019. Forty-six percent recommend enabling public-private dialogue on IT best practices; 43 percent suggest setting up a Chief Information Officer/Chief Financial Officer working group on FITARA; and 34 percent advocate tying IT budgets to FITARA scores.

Now in its fifth year, this FITARA scorecard grades continue to improve with increased emphasis on accelerating IT modernization through MGT, TMF, and other Federal IT initiatives.

“FITARA: Grading the Grader” is based on a survey of 212 Federal IT leaders on FITARA progress, challenges, and government tech spending, in May 2019. To download the infographic, please visit: https://www.meritalk.com/study/fitara-grading-the-grader/

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