What the government’s latest report card really means

Chris Wiedemann

FITARA, IT modernization, report cardBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

If the federal government were our 8th grade son or daughter, their cell phone would probably be taken away for the rest of the school year.

The government’s latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) report card, released earlier this month, has six agencies getting worse grades since the last report card in June, 15 staying the same and only three agencies making better grades. The U.S. Agency for International Development was the only one to earn an A.

While we’re not talking about algebra and biology here, the results show agencies falling behind in IT modernization. But it could mean an opportunity for tech companies that sell to government.

For a little background, FITARA was established by Congress in 2014 to overhaul federal IT and five report cards have been issued since then. In the most recent biannual report card, grades were based on agency CIO authority enhancements, transparency and risk management, portfolio review, data center optimization initiative and software licensing.

The worst performing category was software licensing with 17 agencies getting failing grades. They were required to improve and make less duplicative their software license management. It’s a fairly new requirement and comes from the MEGABYTE Act.

This is tricky because to be frank, poor license management means we have more opportunity to sell. But we can look at this as a chance to partner with customers and position ourselves for future modernization funding. Unless you sell to one of the six agencies that have an A in MEGABYTE, doing whatever you can to help your customer rationalize their software license portfolios is going to deepen the relationship.

Second in failing grades to software licensing was the data center optimization initiative (DCOI). Here there were only seven agencies with failing grades and only three earning A’s. This is really the FITARA implementation category with the most obvious selling opportunities.

DCOI requires continued consolidation of data centers, with virtualization technology increasing server utilization, improving network management, power/cooling management for data center facilities and system/asset management capabilities. Anyone who still sells to the data center is going to want to zero in on agencies that have failing scores in DCOI.

Hopefully, after the next report card, our 8th grader will get their cell phone back.

Want more guidance on FITARA and other public policy trends? Reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team.

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