GAO Wants To Know The Best Way To Buy a Modernization Strategy

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The agency plans to upgrade its content management and delivery systems, as well as its talent management tools. But first, it needs to decide on the best way to buy a modernization strategy.

Congress’ executive branch watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, wants to overhaul its IT systems but first needs to know the best way to go about it and plans to contract with consultants to devise the strategy. Before the agency gets to strategizing, it first wants to know the best way to buy those consulting services.

The agency released a request for information on a potential one-year contract to “evaluate GAO’s current enterprise IT architecture modernization needs and develop a strategic plan for GAO’s future computing environment and roadmap to achieve it,” the document states.

The main goal of the eventual contract will be to help GAO figure out how to best modernize its IT systems. But the RFI is focused on how best to buy that modernization strategy.

The RFI asks a set of technical questions designed to hone in on how vendors would approach a GAO-wide IT assessment, including the techniques and technology they would employ. The request also asks for details on vendors’ contracts through the major governmentwide acquisition contracts, or GWACs, including NASA Solutions for Enterprisewide Procurement, the National Institutes of Health’s IT Acquisition and Assessment Center and the General Services Administration.

The preliminary scope of the contract will cover three broad areas of GAO’s IT ecosystem:

Enterprise IT Strategy: The agency has been working through some modernization efforts over the last four years, including moving to more virtual servers—currently at a ratio of 6:1 of virtual to physical servers—and making thin-client, virtual desktop infrastructure available to all employees. Despite these efforts, “several local solutions still exist to accommodate change management issues and to support high-resource-requirement workstations,” the RFI states. GAO will want a plan to standardize this environment as much as feasibly possible.

Enterprise content management: Per the RFI, “GAO’s core mission revolves around information—collecting, analyzing, processing, publishing, communicating, storing, and archiving it.” The agency publishes about 1,000 unique products each year, which is then posted to several content management systems and shared out through social media, email and other delivery platforms. The agency currently disseminates information through its website, blog, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and RSS feeds, along with an assortment of other “widgets,” but is interested in being able to tap additional platforms.

Internally, GAO’s products are managed using eDocs from OpenText. “Versions of this solution have been supporting GAO for over 20 years,” the RFI states. “eDocs’ capabilities are increasingly insufficient for the agency’s growing needs for managing its content, as well as a number of technical and operational support issues with supporting this solution.”

Talent management: GAO uses a customized commercial off-the-shelf human resources tool called Pathlore, as well as an in-house developed software for performance management called the Competency Based Performance System. Both systems have been highly customized to GAO’s needs and would need detailed plans in place before beginning any modernization strategy.

Responses to the RFI are before the close of business Oct. 10. All responses must be sent by email in a digital format.

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