OPM Unveils Strategic IT Plan

Carlos Caetano/Shutterstock.com

Agency is modernizing retirement programs, USAJOBS and other federal HR systems.

The Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday unveiled a new information technology plan to help the agency refocus efforts to modernize retirement programs, USAJOBS and other federal human resources systems.

The Strategic IT Plan aims to address technology needs across OPM, with particular focus on modernizing federal HR systems affecting hiring, recruiting, background investigations and retirement, as well as implementing enterprise IT initiatives focused on collaboration, information security and platform consolidation.

“IT is really about the bigger picture,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in the introduction of the plan. “We know that our IT systems impact how we do every aspect of our work. That is why in order to better serve the American people, federal employees and federal agencies, my team and I will also use the HR lifecycle IT framework to help make government human resources smarter and more effective.”

Execution of an IT strategy is important for OPM – the agency responsible for creating programs and IT systems to help all departmetns recruit, hire, manage and retire federal employees – particularly after suffering several high-profile IT failures in recent years. The agency in 2008 canceled its ambitious automated retirement program, RetireEZ, after several testing failures. In 2011, OPM received several complaints after unveiling an in-house version of USAJOBS – a platform that for years had been run by a private contractor.

OPM’s new IT strategic plan seeks to better leverage the CIO and CTO roles at OPM to consolidate IT functions, assess IT functions and review OPM’s IT workforce and programs to better enable alignment of IT program and project management skills with the agency’s highest risk IT programs.

The plan also includes developing a tool called USA Performance that will enable agencies to automate their performance appraisal process throughout the entire performance rating cycle. Another program, USA Learning, will be established under the E-Gov initiative to provide a governmentwide clearinghouse of online training, while USA Hire will serve as an online resource of web-based testing services for agencies’ hiring, employee development and leadership assessment and development.

The current USA Staffing Program – which accounts for 83 percent of all federal job postings on USAJOBS – also will undergo a transformation to improve usability and expand metrics, according to the plan.

OPM’s background investigations systems, collectively referred to as EPIC, also will undergo enhancements to make the process more efficient and improve security of sensitive information.

“We’ll be using the same strategy of making foundational improvements and working through initiatives – from IT leadership to data analytics to information security,” Archuleta said. “That will allow us to improve IT across the board. In the end, our goal is to provide better, faster service in every way possible.”

(Image via Carlos Caetano/Shutterstock.com)