What GAO Found

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and General Services Administration (GSA) have taken steps to lead government-wide Technology Business Management adoption, but progress and results are limited.

  • OMB’s initial 2017 plans for government-wide adoption required agencies to report IT spending using categories in the first two layers. OMB continued to require reporting of these two layers in subsequent plans. However, 5 years after establishing initial plans, OMB had not expanded on requirements to include the rest of the taxonomy—the categories in layers 3 and 4, and subcategories for all layers (see figure).

Extent That the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Plans Addressed Elements of the Technology Business Management Taxonomy Version 3.0

  • OMB and GSA assisted agency efforts to implement the Technology Business Management framework by, for example, developing implementation guidance and a maturity model assessment tool. However, OMB and GSA have not assessed agency maturity. Further, they have not analyzed the quality of agencies’ data reported in the first two layers.
  • OMB and GSA released agency-reported data on the federal government’s IT Dashboard (layers 1 and 2), but did not disclose that about $31 billion in fiscal year 2021 investments were excluded. Further, they have not analyzed inconsistencies in fiscal year 2022 data, or addressed use of benchmarking that would enable spending comparisons to organizations of similar size or mission.

OMB and GSA officials maintain that Technology Business Management implementation continues to be a priority. Nevertheless, until OMB establishes documented plans and agency expectations for the remainder of the taxonomy, uncertainty will cloud agency efforts. Further, the continuing absence of OMB direction could prevent the federal government from fully achieving intended benefits such as optimizing IT spending.

Why GAO Did This Study

The government has faced longstanding challenges in IT management and spending transparency. In 2017, OMB announced its intention to improve insights into IT spending through government-wide adoption of the Technology Business Management Council’s framework.

This framework provides a standard taxonomy that is organized into four layers (cost pools, IT towers, products and services, and business units and capabilities) intended to show an organization’s total IT spending from different perspectives. These four layers are comprised of spending categories and subcategories.

GAO was asked to report on Technology Business Management implementation. GAO’s objective was to identify progress OMB and GSA have made in the government-wide adoption effort. To do so, GAO analyzed and compared plans against relevant criteria, such as Technology Business Management Council guidance. It also analyzed data, as reported by agencies for fiscal years 2021 and 2022, and interviewed relevant officials.