Latest Technology Modernization Fund Award Will Support Governmentwide Payroll Project

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With the seventh project award, the fund has just under $11 million left.

The board of federal IT leaders managing the Technology Modernization Fund announced Monday the seventh project to get funded in its third round of awards.

The General Services Administration will be getting $20.7 million to support development of the NewPay work scheduling and payroll system, which has designs on being a flexible, easy-to-use service for all federal agencies.

The administration has already begun the work of consolidating some 108 work scheduling systems used across government. GSA awarded a 10-year, $2.5 billion contract on the NewPay project in September to teams led by Carahsoft and Grant Thornton to work with the shared services providers to build relevant software-as-a-service payroll and scheduling systems and help agencies migrate to the new systems over time.

The new award from the modernization fund will support that work, including purchasing and deploying a commercial software-as-a-service cloud product.

“As the last proposal accepted in 2018, the board believes the NewPay proposal is a critical step forward to transform an antiquated technical and operational process,” Federal Chief Information Officer and TMF Board Chair Suzette Kent said in a statement announcing the award.

In past interviews with Nextgov, Kent has stressed the importance of broad impact when assessing potential TMF awardees, including shared services applications like NewPay.

“The TMF was created to invest in modern commercial solutions and drive faster adoption of shared services,” she said Monday. “We are pleased to support a project that will accelerate the journey to make available modern payroll services for all agencies and drive efficiency across government.”

Kent even cited the NewPay program specifically when talking about shared services priorities for the administration at an event in November.

“The adoption of commercial payroll capabilities will enable the government to function more efficiently and effectively,” Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, said in the announcement. “This project clearly aligns to the President’s Management Agenda, particularly around our efforts to modernize technology and expedite towards shared services.”

"Since my confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate, I’ve highlighted reducing duplication and adopting shared services as two of my top priorities for leading GSA," GSA Administrator Emily Murphy told Nextgov in a statement. "The TMF Board’s investment in GSA’s NewPay program will benefit our customer agencies and the workforce across the federal government by supporting the administration’s focus on replacing legacy technology with modern solutions."

The latest award is the second for GSA, which also won $15 million from the fund in October to put toward modernizing legacy applications and adopting more open-source technologies. That second round also saw awards of $5 million to the Agriculture Department and $3.5 million to Labor. The initial round of awards went to the departments of Housing and Urban Development ($20 million), Energy ($15 million) and Agriculture ($10 million).

The latest award leaves just $10.8 million in the TMF account. The awardees are on five-year schedules to pay back the fund, making those resources available for more projects, but Congress has only allocated $100 million for the program so far.

Fiscal 2019 spending bills being hotly debated in Congress have gone back and forth on adding more money to the fund, with proposals ranging from $150 million to zero. The most recent compromises have included $25 million more for the fund.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a comment from the General Services Administration.