Technology Business Management: OMB and GSA Need to Step Up Efforts to Lead Federal Adoption

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have taken steps to lead government-wide adoption of technology business management, but with limited progress and results.

  • OMB’s original government-wide adoption plan in 2017 required agencies to report IT spending using the top two tiers of categories. OMB continues to require reporting of both tiers in follow-up plans. However, 5 years after the initial plan, the OMB has not expanded the requirements to include the rest of the taxonomy—categories in Tiers 3 and 4, and subcategories of all tiers (see figure).

The extent to which the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plans to address the elements of the Technical Business Management Taxonomy Version 3.0

The extent to which the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plans to address the elements of the Technical Business Management Taxonomy Version 3.0

  • OMB and GSA assist institutions in implementing the Technology Business Management Framework by developing implementation guidance and maturity model assessment tools. However, OMB and GSA have not yet assessed institutional maturity. Furthermore, they did not analyze the quality of institutional data reported by the first two tiers.
  • The OMB and GSA publish agency-reported data on the federal government’s IT dashboards (Tiers 1 and 2), but do not disclose that about $31 billion in investment in fiscal 2021 is excluded. Additionally, they did not analyze inconsistencies in the fiscal 2022 data, nor did they address the use of benchmarks to compare spending with organizations of similar size or mission.

OMB and GSA officials insisted that the implementation of technical business management remains a priority. However, uncertainty will cloud agency efforts until OMB establishes written plans and agency expectations for the rest of the classification. In addition, the continued lack of OMB guidance could prevent the federal government from fully realizing expected benefits, such as optimizing IT spending.

Why GAO did this research

Governments face chronic challenges in IT management and spending transparency. In 2017, OMB announced its intention to improve visibility into IT spending by adopting a government-wide framework for the Technology Business Management Board.

The framework provides a standard taxonomy of four tiers (Cost Pools, IT Towers, Products and Services, and Business Units and Functions) designed to show an organization’s total IT spending from different perspectives. The four tiers consist of spend categories and subcategories.

GAO is required to report on the implementation of technical business management. GAO’s goal is to determine the progress made in the government-wide adoption of OMB and GSA. To this end, GAO analyzes and compares programs against relevant standards, such as the Technical Business Management Council Guidelines. It also analyzed data reported by the agency for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 and interviewed officials.

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