As had been expected, the General Services Administration announced this week the second agency that will use its Centers of Excellence IT modernization model: the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Agriculture Department has been the first agency to go through the model, and GSA has always said it will take the lessons it has learned through working with USDA (the process is still ongoing) and apply them to other agencies.
The five CoEs are run by the GSA and based around cloud adoption, IT infrastructure optimization, customer experience, service delivery analytics and contact centers. The goal of the centers is to accelerate modernization by leveraging private-sector expertise and talent, and to provide agencies with consulting and IT engineering services to radically improve the way they design services and interact with their citizens.
HUD CIO David Chow tells Nextgov that HUD’s work with GSA will be similar to what USDA has done, but that its approach to the CoEs will be tailored to HUD’s unique business needs. GSA and HUD will have an informal kickoff meeting next week, and then will start on “discovery sprint” that will take six to eight months.
“In partnering with GSA's CoEs, HUD’s business needs are our primary focus,” Chow tells Nextgov. “This first phase of the CoE will be led by program office experts with full IT support to streamline business processes and enhance taxpayers’ overall experience.” Chow wants to be well into phase two and implementing key technology changes by the second quarter of 2019 and have the entire project completed 24 to 30 months from now.
HUD will use all five of the CoEs, Chow says, and is holding preliminary conversations about standing up a sixth Coe based around a cybersecurity assessment. First, HUD will work to improve its contact centers and enhance customer service. It also wants to address customer experience and cloud migration, which Chow says are related in some ways. “It’s related to going through the process of re-engineering the grants process lifecycle,” a major part of HUD’s mission as an agency.