The federal government spent $88 billion on IT in fiscal year 2019, and although the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act gives agency CIOs more authority over technology budgets, managing all of that spending can still be a daunting task.
Enter Technology Business Management, a standard taxonomy to track and manage IT spending. In February, the General Services Administration released a playbook to help agencies implement the TBM framework.
As the GSA notes, TBM is a “methodology designed to communicate the value of information technology to agency stakeholders” that “focuses on cost transparency, delivering value, identifying the total cost of IT, and shaping demand for IT services.”
TBM’s taxonomy has three different perspectives, including a basic finance view that has different buckets of IT costs, such as hardware, software and labor. A middle layer is the IT view, which looks at IT through the lens of technology categories such as servers, storage and applications. And then there is the business view, which “provides a standard set of application and service categories along with higher-layer business units and business capabilities,” the GSA notes.
The President’s Management Agenda calls on the government to adopt TBM governmentwide by fiscal year 2022. “This approach will improve IT spending data accountability and transparency, empowering agency executive suite leadership from across the enterprise to drive mission value and improve customer experience through technology,” the PMA states.
How Agencies Can Successfully Implement TBM
The playbook has seven different plays, all of which are designed to make TBM an easier lift for agencies. At its heart, the playbook notes, TBM is a way to “manage IT like a business, support value conversations, maximize the benefit achieved through IT spending, and align with business needs and strategy.”
TBM allows agency IT leaders to make the best use of their funds and streamline platforms, applications and vendors; align IT spending to mission priorities; talk about the IT budget in ways mission partners can understand; make IT offices service brokers; and support federal efforts to promote cost transparency and improve IT management.
Todd Tucker, vice president and general manager of the Technology Business Management Council, said last week on the TV program Government Matters that TBM needs to be thought of as an overarching system.
“TBM is really a framework of automation, data, rules and responsibilities for improving the value and addressing the risk of your technology spending and investments. It is a data-driven approach to managing IT,” he said. “It is not just money, it is time, money, assets, it is data. All of those form and lead to the outcomes that the agency has to drive, the mission. It’s about getting all of that right. That takes a system and processes and data.”
Playbook Provides a Simple TBM Guide
To that end, the playbook breaks down TBM into easily understandable components. The first play is to identify key players and stakeholders, including mission stakeholders, financial analysts and IT and acquisition professionals. “Together, this team drives change through collection, analysis, reporting, and informed review of IT data,” the playbook notes.
Next, CIOs and their staff need to figure out their current state of IT governance, including “data collection and aggregation methods, financial systems, business processes, and models” the agency already has in place to support TBM.
From there, CIOs should determine how the agency can “deliver the right IT services for the best possible price” as they work with stakeholders to figure out the priorities to focus on.
Based on the agency’s current state and where they want to take it in the near term, CIOs should start working with their financial data, the playbook says. “Starting from the bottom up is recommended — aligning financial data to cost pools” like hardware, software and personnel, before moving on to other categories like servers, storage and services.
The fifth play is for CIOs to conduct a data analysis and see where the data leads them. “Focus on examining the data to see how it provides insights into issues or benefits around the identified outcomes,” the playbook notes.
At that point, IT leaders should “start integrating TBM principles, data, and value discussions into meetings and funding reviews.”
Finally, the model needs to be continuously refined and matured. “Assess your maturity and identify opportunities to maximize your TBM implementation,” the playbook says.