Management

OMB, GSA to oversee TBM buys

tech budget 

The federal government is taking concrete steps to require agencies to use Technology Business Management (TBM) methodology and data standards to measure IT costs and create a cross-agency framework for understanding IT spending.

The Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration are teaming up to create a review board to supervise agency procurement of TBM tools and services. Agencies are required to adopt TBM and to go through the coming Task Order Review Board (TORB) as part of the acquisition process.

At stake is how $80 billion to $90 billion in federal IT spending is measured and managed.

The TORB is set up to exercise considerable authority over TBM acquisition, providing technical expertise and documents to support procurement and ultimately approval to proceed with an acquisition or revisions to an agency's TBM plans "to address deficiencies or concerns," according to contracting documents.

The news came in a request for information for a government-wide TBM solution announcement and request for information released Aug. 5.

OMB policymakers have been pushing TBM adoption for a while. The President's Management Agenda includes a goal of achieving federal IT spending transparency that incorporates TBM, and the latest iteration of the A-11 budgeting document notifies agencies that TBM is no longer optional.

At a June industry day covering TBM, OMB's Kelly Morrison said that, "IT is either a black box of IT spending or difficult to align IT Dashboard IT data to authoritative budget, acquisition and finance data. We want to change that, and believe that with advances in technology we are at a perfect opportunity to do that."

According to the RFI, the TORB will be looking to emerging technologies beyond financial management solutions to implement TBM and leverage standardized data including robotics process automation, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning.

The government is planning to use GSA's Schedule 70 for TBM tools and services. The RFI identified two special item numbers -- one covering cloud and cloud-related IT professional services and another covering IT professional services – that can serve as vehicles for pre-qualified TBM vendors to offer products and services.

The White House priority goal covering IT spending transparency sets the fourth quarter of 2019 as a goal for establishing a "government-wide acquisition approach to enable agencies to procure services and tools relating to TBM implementation." Government-wide TBM adoption is scheduled to be in place by 2022.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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