Modernization Board Awards Half Its First Year Funding to Three Projects

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They are the first projects to receive Modernizing Government Technology funds.

The Technology Modernization Fund Board awarded almost half of its initial funding to three federal modernization programs Thursday.

The winning projects include a customer experience portal for the Agriculture Department’s Farmers.gov for $10 million; migrating the Energy Department’s email to a cloud environment for $15 million; and accelerating the migration of a Housing and Urban Development mainframe application for $20 million.

The three winning projects made it through two rounds of vetting. The board received nine bids for a piece of the $100 million fund and, in April, chose four projects as contenders. Board members were looking for projects that could deliver strong impact and return on investment while improving agency operations.

“These proposals show the need to update our federal infrastructure and create new operating models that align with aggressive technology transformation,” said Federal CIO Suzette Kent, who chairs the board. “The board believes these projects deliver citizen benefits, meet the specific technology transformation goals defined in the [Modernizing Government Technology] Act, have agency leadership support and contains effective cost savings strategy that are at the heart of the TMF model.”

Work on these projects will begin right away, as the clock is ticking for the agencies to repay the funds they just received. The modernization fund was designed to be a revolving fund, with winning projects paying back the loan using money saved by the new system.

“The Technology Modernization Fund provides federal agencies with a novel, new approach to investing in modern technology solutions that will bring about the updated, enhanced and secure platforms necessary to better serve our citizens,” said Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration. “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for the future of IT modernization across the federal government.”

The board is still looking for more applications and has another $55 million on hand to fund more projects. Specifically, the board wants more projects with the potential for wide impact, ideally multiagency or something that can be copied and spread across government.