Technology Modernization Fund (TMF)

As part of the Governor’s 2021-22 Budget the CDT received $25 million in limited resources to demonstrate the state’s ability to make immediate investments in IT that will improve government services quickly. TMF funds must be used by June 30, 2024.

About the TMF

The TMF was established to make immediate investments in IT that will yield quick and meaningful results for the people of California. CDT invites California state departments or entities to submit business challenges that require an IT solution to modernize government and improve digital services for California residents and state employees. This will enable departments to deliver timely business modernization wins through a high-value proof of concept, fulfill an immediate need, and optimize services for digital government. A strong commitment from the department’s business and IT leadership and team capability are required to be successful.

The first round of the TMF resulted in the selection of four projects in December 2021. Further information about those projects can be found in the CDT Tech Blog.

What types of projects will be funded by TMF?

The TMF will be used for efforts that should take no longer than one year to implement from start to finish and provide substantial business value. Solving business problems that have a direct impact on the public or demonstrate solutions that can be replicated or leveraged by other departments will be prioritized. Proposals can outline fully functional products, or early-stage prototype or MVP for improving government, allowing the validation of initial concepts before requesting appropriation for further development through normal budgetary processes. Examples of criteria that will be used to evaluate proposals include:

    • Strong team composition and commitment from department’s business and IT leadership
    • Corresponding investment from the proposing department and agency, and a commitment to dedicate both human and financial resources as part of solution development and ongoing operations
    • Clear, concrete, mission-driven goals (and modernization alone isn’t enough)
    • Sound analysis of the business problem to be solved
    • Viable, fast path to delivery (ideally 12 months or less)
    • Return on investment (measured in risk reduction, financial returns, or increased quality of service)
    • Support of statewide goals (e.g., Vision 2023, stabilizes critical services, addresses security risk, public-facing digital services, encourages shared services or cross-department collaboration)

Some projects may not be good candidates for funding through the TMF. Examples include: upgrading desktops, infrastructure, implementing new security software, etc.

Alternatives to the TMF

Your project may align better with the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) or Stabilization. 

Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL)

The standard PAL should be used to ensure IT projects are undertaken with clear business objectives, accurate costs, and realistic schedules and that they link strategic business plans and IT plans. The TMF will use an abbreviated process to evaluate business problems submitted by state entities, and then collaborate with a Civic Tech partner to conduct a discovery sprint to determine if there is a viable market solution that can be implemented within the schedule and cost constraints of the TMF.

A small proof of concept or demonstration may be a good candidate to be funded, but if sustaining resources (funding or personnel) are required for full implementation, enhancements, or maintenance which would require a BCP the project will need to follow PAL. Business proposals that would require longer or more costly projects, will be referred to the PAL process for traditional project planning and budgeting. For more information visit: SIMM 19 Project Approval Lifecycle. 

Stabilization is designed to Stabilize Critical Services and IT Infrastructure

CDT’s Stabilization program will assess critical IT services and assist to stabilize those that demonstrate signs of potential disruption or failure due to new performance demands, functionality constraints or data quality degradation. High impact services at the greatest risk of failure or those with warning signs that warrant further investigation will be prioritized. This program does not have an application process. CDT will lead the effort to assess mission critical services and will assist in determining the best project approval and funding path to implement stabilization recommendations. TMF may be used to fund urgent needs identified in a stabilization assessment. For more information visit: CDT Stabilization.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will CDT select projects for TMF?

The CDT will select a small number of qualified state entities for each round of TMF. CDT will partner with other agencies to conduct a competitive process to allocate the TMF funds. Criteria for selection will include strong support from the requesting entity’s executive leadership, commitment of resources required to be successful, and a high probability that the solution can be implemented successfully within one year.

What is the process and next steps?

An online portal will be open for submissions on Monday, March 21st. An advisory group will review proposals and recommend finalists that will present their projects to a selection committee comprised of Undersecretaries and Chief Deputy Directors. Finalists selected will then undergo a readiness assessment to determine if a discovery sprint should be conducted before proceeding.

When will projects be selected?

CDT will conduct several rounds of investments from the TMF. In Round 1, four projects were selected to move forward and we are planning for a similar number for Round 2 near the end of May. A third round is anticipated Fall 2022.

How to Apply

Submissions for the second round has concluded. The next round will open later this year. For questions or be contacted regarding the next round, fill out and submit the form below: