OMB nudges PortfolioStat to a new level

VanRoekel, Zients stress the importance of agencies delivering IT as a service.

Steve VanRoekel

U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel outlined this year's improvements to the PortfolioStat process. (FCW photo)

The Office of Budget and Management hopes to kick PortfolioStat up a notch, citing its "significant" results just a year after its introduction.

PortfolioStat was launched in March 2012 as way to root out waste and inefficiencies by providing visibility into agencies' management of their IT projects. In October 2012, OMB touted PortfolioStat's success in an blog post, saying the new initiative had identified cost reductions of more than $2.5 billion through 2015.

Then in a March 27 blog post, U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel announced a new memo that kicks off this year's PortfolioStat process and outlines improvements from 2012. The memo, written by VanRoekel and OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, highlights how PortfolioStat helped bolster IT portfolio governance, strengthen agency CIOs, and advance service delivery.

"The results from PortfolioStat are already significant; by the end this month, we expect agencies to report savings of approximately $300 million," VanRoekel wrote.

OMB officials announced earlier this month the governmentwide data center consolidation effort would get incorporated into PortfolioStat. Going forward, "the FDCCI will integrate with, and play a significant role in, supporting and achieving the goals of PortfolioStat," according to the March 27 memo.

VanRoekel also stressed PortfolioStat is not a static process, but "will be an ongoing effort, growing each year to incorporate lessons learned and changes in technology."

The key to success lies in the section of the newly released memo pointing to how Information Resources Management Strategic Plans now require agency chief operating officer's signature, Karen Evans, a former administrator of OMB's Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology, told FCW.

Evans, who is now a partner at KE&T Partners, LLC, said the signature ensures agency leaders are in line with the strategic goals they need to meet under the Government Performance and Results Act, as well as their IRM plans. Commenting on the overall PortfolioStat process, she lauded its success in engaging senior management.

"It is great to see the agency leadership -- all of it -- actively engaged in the oversight of all the management processes in order to achieve their mission," she said.

Tim Young, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP, also pointed to that senior-level attention as one of the positives of PortfolioStat.

"PortfolioStat, at least initially, has demonstrated the value of enabling improved management and governance of IT investments through the direct engagement of agency deputy secretaries, CXOs and program executives focused on data-driven and analytically-derived decisions for how to optimize enterprise IT," he said.

However, for PortfolioStat to last, Young said it has to "move from an OMB 'push' to an agency 'pull'" by showing value to agencies in linking business and technology, realizing cost savings through reduced duplication, and enhancing quality and range of service delivery.

"Agencies have an opportunity to realize these benefits by standardizing their PortfolioStat and related IT governance processes through the use of automated IT portfolio management approaches and tools," he said. "Similarly, agencies can also leverage the tenants of PortfolioStat to procure IT-as-a-service, thereby being able to efficiently stand up enterprise IT solutions, pay for usage and outsource the infrastructure and operational risks."