Mar 15 2018

GSA Awards Contracts for IT 'Centers of Excellence'

The White House-backed initiative aims to help agencies modernize technology around five key areas.

The White House’s plan to kickstart IT modernization got a boost on Wednesday.

The General Services Administration announced that it had awarded five contracts for the first phase of work on the “IT Modernization Centers of Excellence,” which will be run by the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS) organization. The CoEs will “provide agencies with consulting and IT engineering services to radically improve the way agencies design services and interact with their customers,” GSA says in a statement. The centers will be focused on five key areas: cloud adoption, IT infrastructure optimization, customer experience, service delivery analytics and contact centers.

GSA is working with the Agriculture Department as its first “lighthouse agency,” to test the model. Danielle Metz, policy adviser in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, said at an industry conference last month that USDA was selected because it had signaled a commitment to the effort and set aside money and its “best and brightest” IT staffers for it.   

GSA awarded the contracts to SIE Consulting Group for the cloud adoption piece; McKinsey & Company for IT infrastructure optimization; ICF Incorporated for customer experience; Kaiser Associates for contact centers; and ICF Incorporated for service delivery analytics.

USDA will go through a discovery and assessment phase of using the CoE model to determine how best to move forward on modernization. That should take until June. Over the summer, USDA will start implementing its modernization plans. GSA then plans to use the lessons learned through that process to work with other agencies, Metz said last month.

“The awards announced today mark a major milestone in implementing the administration’s far-reaching federal IT modernization effort,” Joanne Collins Smee, deputy commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service and acting director of TTS. “GSA will play a pivotal role in this endeavor, and our team will be at the tip of the spear constantly focusing on meaningfully improving outcomes for our agency partners. 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.”

Bob DeLuca, most recently the CIO at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, has joined GSA to implement the day-to-day operations of the CoE initiative. DeLuca led several major transformation efforts at OPIC, GSAT notes, and brings 20 years of experience in technology, business and the U.S. military.


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