Federal agencies have fluctuated over the past four years in their biannual evaluations of information technology management, mandated under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

But according to an April 29 Government Accountability Office review of nine federal agencies covered by FITARA, there are 12 practices that have nearly universally improved the provisions of the act.

“Congress has long recognized that IT has the potential to enable federal agencies to accomplish their missions more quickly, effectively and economically. However, fully exploiting this potential has presented challenges to covered agencies, and the federal government’s management of IT has produced mixed results,” the report said.

“In this report, GAO identifies practices that agencies have used to effectively implement FITARA. GAO selected five provisions of FITARA to review: (1) CIO authority enhancements; (2) enhanced transparency and improved risk management; (3) portfolio review; (4) data center consolidation; and (5) software purchasing. GAO then selected nine agencies that had success in implementing at least one of the five provisions.”

After studying the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, and Veterans Affairs; the Agency for International Development; NASA; and the General Services Administration, GAO found that four practices helped agencies improve in FITARA overall, while eight others helped agencies to improve in one of the specific metrics measured by FITARA.

“By applying the overarching practices, covered agencies were better positioned to implement FITARA. In addition, by implementing the practices relative to the five FITARA provisions GAO selected, covered agencies realized information technology management improvements, such as decommissioning old systems and cost savings,” the report said.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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