FDA discovers portfolio management benefits

Food and Drug Administration officials have learned that using a portfolio management tool alone will not instantly yield smarter information technology investments. But a tool can spur decision-makers to collect information and set up processes that will help them use it to make better spending choices.

FDA officials adopted portfolio management about two years ago as a way to improve their Exhibit 300 submissions, which they were preparing manually during the budget process, and to find out whether they were spending their investment dollars wisely, said James Rinaldi, the FDA's chief information officer. Business cases are submitted to the Office of Management and Budget via the Exhibit 300 form, which is used for major capital spending plans.

The FDA uses a portfolio management tool called ProSight Portfolio from ProSight. The tool works with the agency's enterprise architecture tool, Computas' Metis, which ensures that portfolio management and enterprise architecture are in sync, Rinaldi said. Agency officials also have strengthened their project management capability to track agency projects better, he added.

FDA officials use budgeting software from ProSight to help them complete Exhibits 300 and 53, and they use reporting software to meet Federal Information Security Management Act requirements.

The result, Rinaldi said, is an organized and higher quality Exhibit 300 and a more disciplined approach to portfolio management. "The tool gives you a reason to track things better," he said. "It allows us to reinforce the idea across the enterprise that these things are taken more seriously than" we have in the past."

Portfolio management has allowed FDA officials to get a better handle on how their IT systems support various business activities. That insight allowed them to reduce their Exhibit 300 submissions from 31 to 21. They determined that some systems did not need an exhibit, while others were rolled into consolidated forms that more accurately reflected how different systems were related.

But using a tool alone was not enough, Rinaldi said. The agency now has a structure and governance process that allows system stakeholders and senior executives to develop more informed opinions about how to spend IT budgets.

Now that FDA officials have moved from using word processing software and spreadsheets to portfolio management tools and processes, "we spend a lot less time on the basics," said Rod Bond, director of the strategy and planning staff in the Office of the CIO.

"The tool allows us to take the goals of many different projects and map them back to our strategic plan," he said. Now, they can look at their investments and see whether they have the right projects in the pipeline to meet goals for the agency's future.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group