Sep 22 2016

Education Department Prepares for the Mobile Workforce of the Future

As it seeks to refresh a major IT contract, the department wants to ensure that it can supply technology to a workforce that will be increasingly on the go.

The Department of Education focuses on helping schools teach and prepare students for the future. As it plans for its own IT future, the department is realizing that the workforce it will rely on into the next decade will be increasingly mobile and require flexible technology.

Late last month the department released a Request for Information for its new major technology contract, known as the Portfolio of Integrated, Value-Oriented Technologies. PIVOT is going to replace Education Department Utility for Communications, Applications, and Technology Environment (EDUCATE), a decade-old IT contract the department adopted in September 2007.

“A lot of things have changed since 2007,” Education Department CIO Jason Gray said at a pre–request for proposals industry day in June, according to FedScoop. “We're really looking forward to hearing the great ideas and the new technologies and the new capabilities that are out there.”

Gray said the department wants its future IT infrastructure to focus on "providing end-to-end services while promoting innovation ... striking the right balance between be reactive and proactive."  

A Mobile IT Future

According to an appendix to the RFI, the PIVOT contract envisions the department deploying “IT infrastructure services for a workplace environment that will be rapidly evolving for the foreseeable future.”

Specifically, the RFI states, that will mean an “increasingly mobile workforce that frequently teleworks, real estate footprint reductions requiring workspace sharing facilitated by technology, and the ability to immediately respond to the ever-changing cyber threats.”

The Education Department says that, into the future, it will need to support “an increasingly mobile workforce not tied to a specific work location or restricted to a single computing device. Teleworking and hoteling (shared temporary workspaces) will become more of the norm than the exception.”

In light of that, the RFI notes that the department’s “vision for IT services is a secure, high performance, versatile infrastructure to deliver a set of seamless, integrated capabilities that provide an equivalent end-user experience regardless of location and are independent of any platform or platforms that are used to access PIVOT IT services.”

Numerous Technical Capabilities

The PIVOT contract will focus on multiple technology solutions. It will also be broken out into different components.

The department says it will require an “end-user storage capability that is provisioned by the PIVOT-H Contractor on an on-demand basis in a rapid fashion.” Additionally, the department says the contractor for PIVOT will need to provide “a content management solution that can be integrated with the data storage capability to promote a seamless user experience between capabilities while still providing a high-level of performance in terms of availability, reliability, recovery time, and data security.”

Additionally, the department says it will need a flexible hosting solution that provides “fully-managed and hosted software solutions for department IT functional requirements.”

“hosting solution must provide quick, on-demand provisioning of environments that can mirror or near-mirror the system owner operational environment as required,” the RFI notes. “All of these capabilities must be provided under the scope of ensuring the overall IT security of the hosting environment in general and individual systems specifically.”

Meanwhile, as FedScoop reports: “The envisioned acquisition will feature six contracts total for the different aspects of Education's infrastructure for oversight, technical management and integration, hosting data, network services, mobile services and printing.”

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