In this special two-part interview, Francis Rose sits down with U.S. Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent to discuss her top IT modernization priorities, and the progress being made by the Technology Modernization Fund Board.
Four agencies have the green light to take the next step toward claiming a portion of the Technology Modernization Fund established by the Modernizing Government Technology Act. US Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent, chair of the TMF Board, announced Sunday on Government Matters that proposals from those agencies have moved into the next phase of deliberations. “This time next week, the first four proposals that will be moving to the second phase will actually have the letters in their hands, inviting them to start that process,” Kent said Sunday morning on Government Matters. “Every idea that we received is a great idea, so everything the board’s looked at is something that needs to be done, but the board is focused on elevating the ones that have the broadest impact across government.” Kent said the identities of the four agencies would be made public once those agencies have received their letters. But she laid out the three elements that each of the selected proposals shared. “Success is impact, that citizen impact and broad re-usability across government,” Kent said. “It’s also success in execution. Obviously we want to achieve the payback…. and one of the other key points is sustainability.” Kent said that these four proposals show a “clear alignment” with existing modernization priorities, which endeared them to the board. “Modernization, cloud, e-mail, citizen impact around portals, things that we want to do to move off of legacy systems,” said Kent. “We also saw very thoughtful attention to how they’ll deliver results, and the surety of the approach to the outcomes they want to achieve.” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney told Congress last week that the Board had not yet made any specific decisions about where the money would go, and Kent did not specify if the four proposals would receive most, or all, of the $100 million Congress appropriated for the fund. But she encouraged agencies to continue to submit proposals, and she said speed – to receive proposals, to tee up projects, and to deliver results – would be another desirable attribute. “It’s important to move quickly so we can actually deliver impact,” Kent said. Kent also listed priorities beyond her duties leading the TMF Board. “I have three main priorities… closing the gaps, citizens first and employees involved, and the third priority is positioning for a culture of ongoing innovation and impact,” Kent said.