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GSA, USDA Host Industry Day for Phase II of IT Modernization Centers of Excellence


More than 200 business leaders joined the U.S. General Services Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture for an industry day this afternoon to discuss plans for the future work of the information technology modernization Centers of Excellence initiative. The two-hour event, which was held at GSA’s National Capital Region office, is the prelude to a two-day-long “reverse industry day,” where the agencies will acquire input directly from industry on how to shape the Requests for Proposal for Phase II of the CoE work at USDA.

“The tremendous support from both federal agencies and industry is further evidence that CoEs represent a transformational opportunity to modernize our government’s IT infrastructure,” said Joanne Collins Smee, Director of GSA’s Technology Transformation Services, where the CoEs are housed. “As we move into the execution phase of our work with USDA, hearing directly from industry is imperative to ensure we develop a rigorous, achievable plan to accomplish the goals we have set out.”

“The modernization activities we are undertaking at USDA provide a pivotal opportunity for USDA to become a leader in government,” said Gary Washington, USDA’s Chief Information Officer. “Phase II delivers on Secretary Perdue’s vision for an organization that is increasingly fact-based, data-driven, and customer-focused. This modernization will provide the best customer experience for citizens, improve operational efficiency, introduce emerging technologies, and ensure that our leaders have the information they need to make informed decisions.”

The CoEs are accelerating the modernization of IT infrastructure across government by leveraging private sector innovation and existing government services, and by centralizing best practices and expertise. The CoE initiative was formally introduced through a Request for Information issued on October 20, 2017. Additional information was released at an industry day held at the White House on December 14, 2017. Subsequently, on March 14, 2018, GSA announced the issuance of five Phase I awards.

Each CoE will tackle distinct tasks, beginning with an assessment and planning phase, resulting in the development of a roadmap that will allow for the successful implementation of managing centralized, function-specific talent, solutions, and acquisition vehicles. They will also provide for documented and scalable best-practices that can be rapidly spread to, and adopted by, other agencies throughout the government. USDA has served as the lighthouse agency for the governmentwide CoE initiative.

The five Centers of Excellence perform the following activities:

  • Cloud Adoption - Perform application/system portfolio analysis, develop cloud migration recommendations, plan and manage the migration execution. The goal is to assist agencies to accelerate cloud adoption.
  • Infrastructure Optimization - Assist agencies with the assessment, development and implementation of computing infrastructure optimization plans.
  • Customer Experience - Assist agencies to improve delivery of their mission and increase efficiency of operations. Implementation includes redesigning services to meet ideal outcomes and experiences.
  • Service Delivery Analytics - Provide the expertise and tools to better analyze and improve operational effectiveness.
  • Contact Centers - Assist agencies to develop and implement an optimal contact center approach using current technology including artificial intelligence, learning systems, and robotic process automation.

In support of Phase II at USDA, GSA will advertise several orders under various GSA vehicles, including Alliant, the Professional Services Schedule, and IT Schedule 70 during the latter part of fiscal year 2018.