The new Biden administration will have a chance to continue some initiatives the Trump Administration drove and revive some things the Obama Administration pushed. Simon Szykman, CTO for Federal Services at Attain, LLC and former CIO at the Department of Commerce, discussed shared services in the next administration on “Government Matters.”
Shared services, Szykman argued, are important because of redundant investment in the same or similar services across multiple organizations. Consolidating these could cut down on costs.
Szykman believes shared services are not discussed as much as they were in the past “in part because of the current administration’s priorities and what they have elevated to the forefront of what they wanted agencies to be focusing on.”
Implementing shared services effectively is also very hard, he added. It is challenging when there are multiple IT organizations and CIOs, different budgets and different lines of authority.
The FITARA scorecard was intended to help address some of those issues by consolidating power at the highest level of CIOs, Szykman explained, but the scorecards today are not measuring success with shared services.
Szykman said he understands the frustration with “what has appeared to be a moving target” with the FITARA scorecard, and “the issue perhaps is not as much one of what’s on the scorecard but maybe setting the agenda to drive these kinds of improvements.”
He cited USDA as an example of an agency that has made major changes, including consolidating organizations. Those changes may have contributed to USDA’s FITARA scorecard results, but “they weren’t driven by the scorecard.”
They were instead driven by leadership at the IT and department levels. “I think perhaps part of what we need for the future to drive these types of agendas are people at the secretary, deputy secretary level or the agency head level and the CIO level who are really willing to grab the reigns and make some perhaps difficult but important decisions around how IT is managed within the agencies,” said Szykman.