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Case Study: Engineering and Integration

Project: Budget Formulation Portal / Client: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency


The mission of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is to lead the national effort to protect and enhance the resilience of the nation’s physical and cyber infrastructure. To execute this mission, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s (OCFO) Business Transformation Office (BTO) develops and leverages technology to create solutions that increase transparency and accountability, and support data-informed decision making for leaders at all levels of the CISA organization.

BTO has broad responsibilities that include investigating technologies, processes, and concepts, and then developing plans for future technical road maps for OCFO offices. They develop capabilities that support the OCFO mission at multiple levels using technology demonstration, integrating existing solutions, and developing new tactics that provide immediate solutions to the urgent challenges of the OCFO mission.

The Challenge:

CISA faced challenges in data management during the collection, calculation, aggregation, and transformation of CISA’s requirements throughout fiscal year budget formulation cycles. They needed a systems development and integration roadmap to streamline resource planning during the formulation of the agency’s annual budget as well as to optimize operational costs across standardized, secure platforms.

As enablers of new capabilities and tools, these platforms would store all CISA budget transactions, seamlessly integrate with DHS Headquarters’ OneNumber system, and provide the needed reporting and analytics to enable smart, centralized budget decision-making.

The Solution:

Leveraging Agile best practices and guidance from CISA’s stakeholders, OPTiMO launched a project to deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in nine months that would replace manual efforts associated with the Government’s FY21 budget formulation.

Incorporating subject matter experts and CISA division personnel, our efforts began with a Sprint zero effort to document internal business processes and rules, inventory all existing XLS and Access tools used to support budget formulation, and create an initial backlog of user stories needed to deliver MVP Resource Allocation Process (RAP) capabilities.

OPTiMO’s comprehensive, high-quality systems development and integration roadmap effectively streamlined CISA’s annual budgeting process, enabling new operational cost efficiencies.

Our team then engaged with the CISA CIO to begin the Authority to Proceed/Authority to Operate (ATP/ATO) processes, working closely with CISA’s security team to ensure all DHS standards and practices were addressed as part of ATP/ATO execution. We identified a total of 365 unique security controls, along with 21 system policies and standard operating procedures.

In the months following the initial release, the team continued to iterate, execute, and deliver planned features required by the OneNumber system in advance of each budget formulation gate.

Once the Government’s fiscal year 2021 budget cycle was completed, the OPTiMO team continued to release the remaining backlog of work items to provide more advanced features and reporting, delivering a total of 48-monthly releases to complete the project. Additionally, in response to requests from CISA stakeholders, we created additional custom gates to support much-needed internal deadlines.

Budget Formulation Portal

The Impact:

OPTiMO’s solution has resulted in increased efficiencies as well as improvements to data quality, transparency, reporting, business intelligence, and customer service capabilities. As an example, during peak budget periods, the OPTiMO-led automation of the internal-facing Waterfall report now saves individual Budget Formulation team members 6-hours per day, delivering a net savings of approximately 2,340 hours annually.

Currently, every manager within CISA’s OCFO and its seven divisions are using the Budget Formulation Portal for budget planning and management. The Budget Formulation Portal is concurrently supporting three live budgets totaling approximately $10 billion.

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