The Federal TBM Mandate and What It Means for You

By Deb Krueger, Thavron Solutions

According to the most recent President’s Management Agenda, 84% of the president’s 2018 federal IT request was classified as ‘other’ and that ‘antiquated, unsecure technology risks can leave the public frustrated and vulnerable’. The agenda identifies several cross-agency priority (CAP) goals to target these and several other areas where multiple agencies must collaborate to effect change. CAP Goal 10, ‘Improving Outcomes Through Federal IT Spending Transparency’, recommends adopting and implementing Technology Business Management (TBM) across the Federal enterprise by 2022.

According to a May 19, 2019 article on the ‘Federal News Network’ web site, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) may issue a formal TBM mandate, providing additional guidance around how to implement the TBM framework, at a future date; however, currently the OMB is in learning mode regarding implementation practices. The agencies that are adopting early are helping to provide guidance regarding how to identify key stakeholders, data needs and building the discipline and framework around how to implement TBM.

The TBM framework is an open-source standard for categorizing IT costs. The framework specifically defines Cost Pools and IT Towers.

  • Cost Pools: cost pools are essentially a way of logically grouping together related costs ( Examples: internal and external labor, hardware, software, facilities, and power, etc.)
  • IT Towers: grouping of IT functional areas (what IT does) ( Examples: Compute, data center, network, storage, etc.)

It is important to note that the TBM taxonomy is providing a framework or specific definition of each cost pool and IT tower, not advocating for a specific tool on the market. The TBM taxonomy changes over time, as new IT technologies emerge or as CIO’s identify areas that need further clarification. The current taxonomy is available at the TBM Council’s website.

Implementing the TBM framework and an ITFM solution for government agencies will not be a quick nor an easy undertaking, but it is an exciting time to be part of the process. This is a great opportunity to build informative models that allocate current and budgeted expenditures to cost pools and IT towers and begin to gain valuable insight into where IT is currently expending dollars, improve the data that is available around IT spend and ensure that our tax dollars are providing the best value possible.

Are you a government agency that has already implemented TBM? What have been your biggest wins? What were your most critical first steps? How has this impacted your processes? Comment below to get the discussion started.

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