The Technology Modernization Fund is designating $100 million of the $1 billion cash infusion it received under a pandemic relief law last year for projects to “help streamline and improve digital services to deliver a better customer experience to the American people,” the administration has announced.
A joint statement from OMB and GSA said that all agencies and “high-impact service providers”–which serve the largest percentage of people, conduct the greatest volume of transactions annually, and have an outsized impact on the lives of the individuals they serve–are eligible to apply for the designated funding.
It said that the board overseeing agency applications for the money “will prioritize investing in projects that span across agencies and will cut down on frustrating wait times, duplicative paperwork, and bureaucratic barriers people too often face when interacting with their government. The board will also prioritize projects aimed at improving a wide range of essential federal government capabilities and systems.”
It added: “Projects that are selected will be supported by customer research and data, cut across agencies and systems, address immediate security gaps, and improve the public’s ability to access and manage government services. Moreover, the agencies proposing the projects chosen will have technology teams and systems that are capable of rapidly designing, prototyping, and deploying modern digital tools and services based on human-centered design. Projects will also be required to have measurable goals to ensure TMF investments are addressing real customer pain points and gaps in accessibility and equity.”
Improving customer experience is one of the main initiatives of the President’s Management Agenda; the TMF is a central fund designed to help agencies cover the higher upfront costs of next generation IT that may be beyond their reach through standard budgeting—which has left them spending to try to keep up outdated systems instead.
The statement said that the fund previously committed $400 million of the $1 billion to 12 projects to address IT modernization challenges, bolster cybersecurity defenses, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the customer experience portion are due September 30 (August 1 for expedited consideration); see tmf.cio.gov.