Agencies are behind in ITMRA conformance

+    Most agencies include staff from program, IT and financial offices
in the capital planning process.
–    Few agencies have procedures for ensuring senior management
participation.
Executive-level investment review boards:
+    Most agencies have adopted investment review boards.
–    Few have procedures for senior management to monitor approved
projects.


+ Most agencies link capital planning and budgeting.
–    Only a few agencies have completed reviews of this process.
Cost-benefit and risk analyses:
+    Virtually all of the agencies have implemented a formal process to
weigh cost vs. benefits and to consider risk.
–    Most agencies do not yet have all the necessary information for
projects planned for next year.


+    Most senior executives are notified if a system fails or a project
has problems.
–    Only half the agencies regularly report cost, risk and
performance updates.





Federal agencies are still forming information technology capital planning procedures
two years after the passage of the Information Technology Management Reform Act, a survey
of government chief information officers found.


Not one of the 10 agencies surveyed in a CIO Council poll has fully implemented a
capital investment process, the CIO Council said.


“Agencies have been extremely successful in some of the areas, while other areas
are still in process or need further refinement,” said the council report,
Implementing Information Technology Capital Planning and Investment Processes: An
Assessment.


“Agencies have not yet had the opportunity to track a project through the
selection and control phases, much less evaluate the results of either the project or the
process,” according to the report, which the council released last month.


Agencies have made the most progress in developing a structured IT investment selection
process, but many don’t use it, the council concluded.


ITMRA directed agencies to establish policies for viewing systems spending as a capital
investment.


The CIO Council has made the establishment of those policies a key goal, the report
said.


The council’s Capital Planning Committee found that the importance of IT planning
had taken hold among agency executives. Nine of the 10 agencies surveyed have established
executive-level IT investment boards, and nearly all agencies reported that they have
established a formal process for determining priorities and making funding decisions.


Although the level of involvement varies, the study found three agencies in which top
executives provide “strong, focused leadership and are actively involved in IT
issues,” the report said.


The survey, conducted in April and May, found that agencies are still defining how the
most-senior-level managers interact with the chief financial officers and the CIOs. That
interaction is critical to successful investment planning, the council said.


The report bases its recommendations on the CIO Council’s capital investment best
practices guidance, as well as recommendations from the General Accounting Office and
Office of Management and Budget.


The council found that most agencies have linked their capital planning process with
the budget process.


Agencies are building tools and methodologies that will ensure the selection of the
best investments for their organization, but “all the necessary elements are not yet
fully in place,” the report said.


About half of the agencies said they have gathered enough data to decide whether to
fund existing projects. That, however, is an improvement over last year, when none of the
agencies could gather such information, the report said.


Most agencies reported that they will use capital investment criteria for funding new
projects. But few agencies have criteria for judging the returns on investment,
cost-benefit ratios and risk assessments, the council found. One agency reported that it
has developed a database of IT systems and uses the data in its budgets and strategic
plans.


The survey queried 10 agencies: the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy,
Housing and Urban Development, State, and Transportation, as well as the Coast Guard, the
Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration and NASA.


The CIO Council has posted its report on the Web at http://cio.gov/assess.pdf.
  

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