Paragon Helps US Treasury Strategically Manage IT Investments
The Department of the Treasury promotes economic growth through policies to support job creation, investment and economic stability. Treasury also oversees the production of coins and currency, the disbursement of payments to the public, revenue collection, and the funds to run the federal government. In 1996, the Clinger Cohen Act required government agencies to improve the way in which each agency, including the Department of the Treasury, acquires and manages IT investments. Within the Department of the Treasury, the Office of E-Government was designated with the responsibility to implement portfolio sequencing to prioritize these and other investments based on financial and portfolio management criteria.
Balancing competing requirements for constrained resources, although common, can be daunting. Budget cuts and the need to accomplish more with less funding creates a necessity from senior leadership to prioritize IT investments based on relevant, reliable and objective criteria. In short, every dollar counts. The Department of the Treasury employed Paragon to provide the agency's senior executives with evaluation and prioritization data that enabled key decision makers to make informed decisions on whether to continue, modify or cancel major IT investments —information the staff had never had access to in a concise, clean and actionable format before. Prior to utilizing Paragon, unfocused, multi-page presentations and fragmented data provided little business value. As a result of Paragon's solution, Treasury could quickly and easily identify under-performing IT investments and make real-time decisions to increase the chances of project success.
HOW PARAGON HELPED
Paragon developed the Enterprise Investment Portfolio Analysis Report (EIPAR) to address Treasury's critical need to provide executives "instant" visibility into investment status, including the ability to accurately monitor cost, schedule and risk. By highlighting suspect investment data, the Treasury team could reduce the number of watch list investments and catch anomalies before they became critical. Data pulled directly from the IT Portfolio Management Tool included Exhibit 300 data, alternatives analysis data, control phase data, select phase data, and FISMA systems security & privacy data. Paragon developed sequencing criteria based on GAO & OMB guidance, industry best practices, Project Management Institute Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), and the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3).
The criteria include five distinct areas that contained multiple elements to create a composite score. Management weighted each area initially with the ability to adjust weights to reflect changing areas of focus. For example, in today's budget environment, an agency may choose to put greater emphasis on cost/benefit.
With selected and approved criteria in place, Paragon collected data for each investment in the portfolio to develop separate assessment reports for each of the 70 IT investments in the Treasury portfolio as well as a summary of the rankings and key indicators identifying problem areas within investments.
TANGIBLE BUSINESS RESULTS
When the Department of the Treasury implemented the EIPAR solution developed by Paragon, analyzing IT investments became an effective process, permitting the agency to:
- Effectively and quickly determine a viable project mix.
- Provide an at-a-glance analysis of portfolio performance and return on investment (ROI).
- Provide valuable business and project information to teams within the Treasury (and associated governance boards) that oversee enterprise architecture and capital planning as well as associated governance boards.
- Turn random project data into valuable, business-driving information.
- Quickly evaluate new opportunities against current portfolio.
- Ensure all investments align with overall strategic direction.
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