How TMF helps agencies fund IT Modernization

By Tara Franzonello, Program Development Manager

Improved cyber security is a priority for government agencies, which is why IT Modernization products and services are becoming so important. Unfortunately, agencies may not have sufficient funds for mission-critical IT.

That’s where the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) comes in.

TMF bridges the gap in IT Modernization between what agencies want and Congress expects. In the last several months alone, the TMF has approved seven new projects totaling over $300M in new funding.

To help address immediate security and capability gaps, suppliers must have a better understanding of the TMF. Agency customers will be better positioned for TMF money if you can explain how products and services map to TMF priorities, and how they provide solutions to pressing IT issues. 

Shaping the TMF proposal

TMF is an “innovative funding vehicle” authorized by the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017. It provides agencies with resources to secure systems and data, and to deliver services to citizens.

The Technology Modernization Board of TMF evaluates project proposals, provides funding recommendations, and monitors progress and performance of approved projects. Project proposals are submitted through a two-phased approval process – an Initial Project Proposal (IPP) and a Full Project Proposal (FPP). 

To prevent projects from being rejected by TMF, the first step is to strategically complete that IPP

The TMF has identified four special emphasis categories:  Modernizing High Priority Systems, Cybersecurity, Public-Facing Digital Services, and Cross-Government Collaboration/Scalable Services. A project is more likely to get to FPP if an agency can tie the project to these categories.

In general, projects that help address security gaps, improve the public’s access to government services, or share services with other agencies are more likely to catch the TMF Board’s attention. Five of the seven recently approved TMF funded projects had a cyber component.

Plans that detail solutions to an urgent problem, especially one that may be a significant risk to an agency, are persuasive. It’s also important to outline commercial capabilities, show agency sponsorship, offer project success milestones, and demonstrate cost savings. The better an agency IPP maps onto selection criteria, the more likely it will get to the next round.

Repayment terms: Explain value

Historically, the TMF has operated under a full repayment model with flexible terms that typically apply to single agency investments. The Board is becoming more aware that full repayment may not be possible for some projects that align with TMF priorities.  For such projects, partial or minimal repayment options may be available.

Communication is essential to obtaining flexible payment options. Explain the risk of not moving forward with a project, in terms of leaving agency or citizen data vulnerable to outside attacks, or how the project meets important citizen needs. For example, accelerated funds may help an agency fast-track its ZTA (Zero Trust Architecture) security requirement goals, which helps meet compliance obligations while mitigating costly data breaches. 

Project cost breakdown, project schedule, acquisition strategy, approach to agency deliverables, and proposed outcome metrics are typically persuasive for the TMF Board. The board is also willing to review proposals that do not have a financial return if they align with special emphasis categories and offer a map to successful outcomes.

If agencies and suppliers do their homework and demonstrate value, TMF can be a real win-win for everyone involved.

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Learn more about immixGroup’s contracts and how we make it easier for government end customers to acquire the technology they need.

About Tara Franzonello
Tara Franzonello is responsible for management, compliance and negotiations of immixgroup’s GSA Schedule contract as well as management of GSA programs and initiatives. Tara brings twenty years of experience in contract administration and program management in the public sector marketplace and has successfully negotiated GSA schedule contracts as well as state and local contract vehicles. She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Providence College.

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