84 Percent of Feds Believe FITARA Will Improve Federal IT Efficiency – New Federal CIO Empowerment Law Promises $12 Billion in Savings

Time to Get Real About Federal IT Accountability Law – FITARA Promises to Slash Duplicative and Wasteful spending

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--()--MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced its “FITARA From The Frontlines” study, 12 days before the August 15th deadline for agencies to report their Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) self-assessments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The study examines Federal IT executives’ perceptions of FITARA, including forecasted benefits of the new law. It finds that 84 percent of Feds assert FITARA will improve Federal IT efficiency. The Federal government spends $80 billion each year on IT – FITARA takes aim at huge inefficiencies in Uncle Sam’s IT spend by empowering Federal Chief Information Officers – CIOs – and making them accountable.

Overall, Feds are optimistic – 93 percent believe FITARA will be equally or more successful than its predecessor IT acquisition law, the Clinger-Cohen Act that established Federal CIOs in 1996. Further, Feds estimate FITARA could lead to a 15 percent reduction in duplicative and wasteful spending – that’s a potential for $12 billion in savings.

“I am encouraged by the strong level of support for FITARA among frontline Federal workers, who already see the potential for management efficiencies and program savings,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Oversight Subcommittee for Government Operations and coauthor of the FITARA legislation.

“While I commend the Administration for its efforts to kick-start implementation, I am concerned by MeriTalk’s findings that portions of the Federal workforce are still unfamiliar with the recently issued guidelines or actions underway within their own agencies,” continued Connolly. “I intend to make sure Congress diligently monitors implementation of FITARA by applying lessons learned from Clinger-Cohen. We will not accept unnecessary delays, improper half-measures, or the stubborn preservation of the status quo. Effective governance in the 21st century demands that we better leverage IT dollars to improve services for the public.”

“FITARA provides agency CIOs with the authorities and visibility needed to manage IT across an agency, and by setting the expectation that these CIOs will work in partnership with other agency leaders,” said Tony Scott, Federal CIO, Office of Management and Budget. “OMB’s FITARA guidance takes major steps toward ensuring agency CIOs have significant involvement in technology-related budget, procurement, and workforce matters and provides details on how we will implement and provide further guidance on a number of OMB initiatives that were codified in FITARA.”

“The positive energy surrounding FITARA and the attention being paid to Fed IT have created the perfect environment to strengthen CIO authorities across the Federal government,” said Dave Powner, director, information technology management issues, Government Accountability Office.

Feds believe positive change is just around the corner – 20 percent assert FITARA will positively impact Federal IT efficiency within the next six months, eight percent within the next seven to 12 months, and 30 percent report within the next two years. Specifically, Feds believe FITARA can:

  • Reduce duplicative IT systems (44 percent)
  • Improve investment decisions (41 percent)
  • Improve communication (40 percent)
  • Improve transparency (34 percent)

“Eighty-four percent FITARA approval rating is impressive,” said Richard Spires, CEO at Resilient Network Systems and former CIO, DHS. “Not only does the legislation empower CIOs, but it also creates a ripple effect across the rest of agencies’ IT: improving government effectiveness, streamlining IT processes, and reducing waste. I applaud OMB's aggressive community outreach initiatives. Federal CIOs need support to help drive real change.”

Additionally, 84 percent of Feds see the new CIO contract approval role as an opportunity to improve visibility and reduce redundancies. And, only six percent believe FITARA will increase CIO turnover. In fact, 51 percent say FITARA will improve the value of OMB’s IT dashboard.

“FITARA focuses upon enterprise-wide empowerment by ensuring that agency head CIOs have the tools and resources they need to make sound investment decisions across the 24 CFO Act agencies,” said Rich Beutel, principal, Cyrrus Analytics LLC. “As noted by former DHS CIO Richard Spires, by placing the Agency Chief Information Officer in a strategic role to coordinated enterprise-wide strategies, FITARA allows component CIOs to focus solely upon their mission, not whether the boss’ BlackBerry is running properly.”

With positive benefits on the horizon, inadequate preparation is the biggest obstacle for agencies. Only 39 percent of Feds are aware that their agency currently has a working group set up to manage FITARA implementation – and only 22 percent of Feds have assessed and determined that their agency has sufficient resources to properly implement FITARA.

Most importantly, while 60 percent of Feds are satisfied with OMB’s June 10 guidance for FITARA implementation – nearly one-third (28 percent) are not yet familiar with the guidelines. Only 18 percent of Feds believe their agencies will definitely meet the August 15 deadline – and only 19 percent believe their agencies will definitely meet the December 31 deadline.

“FITARA is all about CIO accountability to amp up Uncle Sam's IT performance and efficiency,” said Steve O'Keeffe, founder, MeriTalk. “Folks on the frontlines dig the concept, but are concerned about being buried by the paperwork. MeriTalk is calling for a FITARA scorecard – and open discussion about implementation progress. Let's embrace this opportunity to change the failing equation.”

So what’s next for Feds and FITARA? With both deadlines quickly approaching, Feds must familiarize themselves with the legislation. Join MeriTalk, Federal CIO Tony Scott, Dave Powner of GAO, Rich Beutel, and more than 300 Federal IT executives for the FITARA Forum on August 11th at the Newseum in D.C. to get the latest on FITARA. To receive FITARA updates, sign up for OMB’s FITARA Listserv: email listserv@listserv.gsa.gov with no subject and “Subscribe FITARA” in the body – .gov and .mil email addresses only.

The “FITARA From The Frontlines” report is based on an in-person and online survey of 133 Federal IT managers in June 2015. The report has a margin of error of +/- 8.47 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. To download the full study, please visit: http://www.meritalk.com/fitara-front-lines.php.

About MeriTalk

The voice of tomorrow’s government today, MeriTalk is a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT. Focusing on government’s hot-button issues, MeriTalk hosts Big Data Exchange, Cloud Computing Exchange, Cyber Security Exchange, and Data Center Exchange – platforms dedicated to supporting public-private dialogue and collaboration. MeriTalk connects with an audience of 85,000 government community contacts. For more information, visit www.meritalk.com or follow us on Twitter, @meritalk.


Olivia Cho
703-883-9000 ext. 135

Release Summary

MeriTalk announces its “FITARA From The Frontlines” study, 12 days before the August 15th deadline for agencies to report their FITARA self-assessments to the Office of Management and Budget.


Olivia Cho
703-883-9000 ext. 135