Contractors for US federal IT upgrade announced

By on 21/03/2018
The headquarters of the US Department of Agriculture (Image courtesy: Michael Kranewitter).

The starting gun has been fired on a drive to modernise information technology across the US Federal Government, with the award of contracts to five private companies.

The drive, which was launched by the Trump administration, will begin with a pilot programme at the US Department of Agriculture that involves setting up five Centers of Excellence (CoE) to spearhead the adoption of cutting-edge technologies in key areas.

Under a plan drawn up by the White House Office of American Innovation, the CoE will provide the department with consultancy and IT services to improve its performance in areas such as cloud technology and customer service.

Public servants with IT capabilities are being assigned to the CoE to work with industry partners over two to three years on devising solutions to five major IT issues faced by the department. The programme will then be rolled out to other departments.

Winning bids

The four winners of the five contracts were unveiled last week by the General Services Administration (GSA), which is managing the modernisation drive.

The SIE Consulting Group won the cloud adoption gig, whilst McKinsey & Co will handle optimisation of the department’s IT infrastructure. ICF Incorporated will focus on customer experience and service delivery analytics, whilst Kaiser Associates will get stuck into reform of the contact centres.

Joanne Collins Smee, GSA’s acting director of technology transformation services, said: “The awards announced today mark a major milestone in implementing the administration’s far-reaching federal IT modernisation effort.

“We look forward to working closely with the award recipients and our great partners at USDA – the first lighthouse agency for the CoEs – to bring about a federal IT infrastructure that will make it easier for the American people to interact with their government.”

Aiming for Excellence

Collins Smee also announced the appointment of Bob DeLuca as director of Centers of Excellence to oversee day-to-day operations and progress of the initiative. DeLuca was formerly chief information officer at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, where he led several major transformation efforts.

“Bob’s technical experience in enterprise software, cloud adoption, infrastructure planning, and execution give him the necessary skills to make a significant contribution to the team,” she said.

Chris Liddell, director of the American Technology Council, who was appointed on Monday as White House deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, said: “This is a significant step forward in the government’s commitment to improve citizens’ lives. My congratulations to Joanne and her team for their leadership in driving this critical agenda.”

About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist based in London, who specialises in international news. She worked on daily newspapers for 16 years, reporting extensively on both general news and education. She was Education Editor of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC.

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