Moving forward, GSA and the other federal payroll providers plan to “focus on completing the migration of all systems to NewPay prior to transitioning and consolidating payroll operations within GSA,” the GAO report states.
GSA is working with the Office of Management and Budget and the other agency payroll providers to identify funding available for these efforts so that a new schedule can be developed.
Meanwhile, in October 2019, the GSA was awarded $15 million to modernize 11 applications that are currently using proprietary vendor technology. The plan is to convert them to use open-source technologies, the GAO report notes.
“GSA currently has 88 applications that are in need of modernization and intends to use the lessons learned and new capabilities as a repeatable process that will be used for future migrations of other proprietary applications to open source technologies,” the report notes.
The GSA intends to repay the TMF funds via both its existing working capital fund and “the planned cost savings and avoidances accrued from reducing operations and maintenance costs, and eliminating hardware and operating system software costs for these proprietary applications.” In fiscal year 2018, the agency reported spending approximately $23.9 million to cover these costs.
Digitized Certifications Come to Labor Department
The Labor Department’s Visa Application Transformation project, for which the agency received $3.5 million in October 2018, is designed to replace a paper-based labor certification process for certain types of work visas with an e-certification process.
“The new system is intended to enable the department to issue a labor certification securely and electronically to employer applicants, similar to an electronic boarding pass issued by airlines,” the GAO report states. “In addition, this project is expected to streamline and improve data accessibility and reporting capabilities by creating a data hub at Labor.”
This hub is expected to allow Labor to securely transmit the labor certifications and other necessary documentation to the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, with an eventual linkage to the Agriculture and State departments.
Labor Department CIO Gundeep Ahluwalia tells Federal News Network that the TMF funding is just one funding stream for the agency’s IT modernization plans.
“Now we have electronic labor certifications being issued out of the Department of Labor that go to the employer like a boarding pass arrives. We have eliminated all of that cost,” he says. “All of that came out of the rendition of that plumbing called the platform that we created. The Bureau of Labor Statistics wanted to do a mobile app and we said, ‘OK.’”
The technology platform the department is using is making the upgrades possible.
The Labor Department intends to repay the TMF funds “by using the planned cost savings accrued from eliminating the costs of procuring security paper and printers for printing the certifications as well as reduced costs for contractor and federal employee support of the paper process.” In fiscal 2019, the department reported spending approximately $1.9 million on these costs for the paper-based process.
Modernized Case Management System at EEOC
In October 2019, the EEOC received $4 million in TMF funding for a case management system modernization project.
“Currently, EEOC’s charge and case management program is running on an outdated and slow backbone system that relies heavily on costly proprietary technologies and requires the use of precise alphanumeric codes, rather than plain language, to record case information for the more than 200,000 inquiries reviewed by the agency each year,” the TMF website notes.
The new system the EEOC is moving toward is expected to be faster, provide for a more efficient review of cases and reduce the costs of operating the system.
“EEOC anticipates it will have a greater ability to serve its mission by improving the basic functionality of its core charge and case management system, which will not only make EEOC’s private and public sector operations more efficient but also benefit the Fair Employment Practice Agencies that rely on EEOC’s system to manage their cases,” the TMF website states.
Applicants and employees seeking assistance from the EEOC “will be able to take advantage of end-to-end digital processing of their charges,” the website states.
Without the TMF funding, the EEOC would need to complete this project over a period of five years, but the agency expects the project can be conducted in fiscal 2020 and 2021 as a single effort to replace the legacy system.
“By the end of this project, EEOC will have a modern, cloud-based core charge and case management system that will modernize both the underlying technology and achieve operational efficiencies that will decrease its current software licensing expenses and reduce other existing development and maintenance expenditures,” the TMF website notes.