Posted by MeriTalk on December 18, 2018:

In the afterglow of last week’s FITARA Scorecard 7.0 report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee–which catalogued both substantial improvements by some Federal agencies in numerous grading categories and efforts by others to shore up a sturdier floor under otherwise fairly poor grades–several Federal IT industry executives took a few minutes with MeriTalk to share their thoughts about how agencies might be able to boost their grades on the next scorecard, scheduled for May 2019.

In offering their thoughts on avenues for further improvement, industry executives offered little in the way of sure bets, but pointed in several consensus directions.

Easy Pickings

Bryan Thomas, vice president-public sector at World Wide Technology, took note of the House committee’s statement that many agency grade improvements were tied to better efforts to implement and regularly update inventories of software licenses, and save money as a result.

“That makes sense, because that is an area in which agencies can take concrete steps and see a measurable return on their efforts,” Thomas said.

But, he added, “Other areas are more complicated and so progress is less predictable. For example, there’s no real comparison between ‘Software Licensing’ and ‘Cybersecurity.’”

Jeff Chabot, director-government segment strategy at Schneider Electric IT Federal, identified CIOs reporting to agency heads as the next low-hanging fruit for agencies that haven’t already done so. “There’s really no good reason why these positions shouldn’t be elevated. This would instantly increase the grade of their score card,” he said.

Steve Harris, senior vice president and general manager at Dell EMC Federal, echoed that sentiment, saying, “It’s essential that all agency CIOs have the authority they need to make the right IT decisions for their missions.”

Where to Next?

While the FITARA scorecard offers Federal agencies clear goals – if not easy paths – to improvement, it also represents a meaningful policy path for both Congress and the Trump administration, both of whom have the ability to lend a hand to help agencies improve.

“For the administration, the scorecard points to broader trends … Are there particular areas in which agencies seem to be struggling—and if so, are there ways in which the administration can provide additional support, whether that means new policies or guidance—or closer oversight,” said WWT’s Thomas, who added, “This applies whether the overall report is upbeat or not.”

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