Survey Finds Positive Response to PMA Initiatives

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A new survey on the impact of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) issued in March reveals positive responses to the document but also some of the biggest challenges on the PMA’s key drivers of IT modernization, data usage, and the workforce.

The survey, conducted by FCW and sponsored by Deloitte, found three challenges in implementing modernization efforts that are nearly even among respondents. Among the top challenges, 37 percent pointed to inadequate training, 33 percent responded lack of strategy or leadership, and 30 percent suggested a lack of funding.

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IT modernization priorities vary across agencies as well, with multiple categories being named as areas of highest need. The frontrunners, according to the survey, are emerging tech (15 percent), customer experience (14 percent), cybersecurity (13 percent), and workforce skills (13 percent).

Federal agencies are looking to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) for help in addressing these issues. Around half of the respondents plan to apply for TMF funding, with only 17 percent ruling TMF out. Among those who plan to apply, the main modernization areas for projects are IT infrastructure, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and cloud migrations and optimization.

The results help reinforce TMF’s role in IT modernization efforts, said Dave Mader, civilian sector chief strategy officer for Deloitte, during Deloitte’s Creating a Future Forward Government event on Thursday.

“When you look at this, people are basically saying, ‘yes we’re interested,’ because there was some skepticism,” said Mader.

Among other PMA drivers, the survey found that agency officials see agency and government-wide policies as the biggest hurdle to sharing data across agencies, with cultural unwillingness and congressional rules following behind. In the workforce area, flexibility in pay and benefits was named as the most helpful potential tool, followed by faster hiring and more retraining programs.

“One of the key messages that I think you need to take away from the President’s Management Agenda is that while there are three drivers and there are the CAP [Cross-Agency Priority] goals, these are all interdependent and inter-related,” said Mader. “I don’t think an agency can say, ‘I’m just going to be focused on technology’ to be successful. I think we have to focus on all of these key drivers in order to advance your mission.”

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