VA Solicits Feedback on Plans to Transform its HR IT Systems

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The agency’s vast human resources community process more than 1 million personnel actions a year.

The Veterans Affairs Department is on the chase for more information about “innovative, future-focused, integrated” information technology solutions—and feedback on a planned approach—to fundamentally transform its existing human resources-related IT systems.

According to a request for information published Friday, the agency’s working to shift its HR IT environment from a legacy functionality with divergent workflows and business processes to a modernized and standardized enterprise platform.

“The goal is to increase efficiency and effectiveness for VA HR practitioners and leadership through the elimination of manual processes, and improved integrity of data,” officials wrote in the RFI. They added that the notice is meant to “provide a procurement framework that may be used for a potential and subsequent acquisition.”

The agency’s vast HR community encompasses around 5,000 HR professionals who process more than one million personnel actions a year—including approximately 27,000 personnel actions per pay period. Transaction counts are anticipated to increase as its workforce and capabilities advance. In the notice, VA officials detail its new and old HR and payroll systems, the first of which was built in 1962. Now, the agency uses HR Smart, deemed in the RFI to be “a modern, up-to-date Oracle PeopleSoft Human Capital Management solution that serves as VA’s official system of record for HR data transactional processing.” It was first implemented in 2016, via the Office of Personnel Management HR Shared Service Center.   

The VA’s Enterprise Human Resources Information Services directorate created a high-level, five-year roadmap for an ideal, integrated HR platform that it would manage for the enterprise, the RFI notes. However, the “systems that ride on this platform are in various stages of development, from new requirements discovery, through sustainment, to end-of-life,” it said.

The document marks a deliberate move by the agency to refine its overall approach—and learn more about applicable modernizing solutions including artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, among many others listed—that might advance these efforts. 

“What, in your opinion, is the future of HR IT solutions supporting the employee lifecycle of an agency such as the VA in [the] next 5 years? 10 years?” the RFI asks. 

VA poses more than 20 other questions for respondents. Among them, it solicits recommendations “for transitioning existing PeopleSoft core HR functionality to a new platform if that is the best path forward for VA.” The agency also asks for insights on possible risks and mitigation strategies that could come with such a move—or conversely, with keeping the existing system. Ideas on the optimal contracting structures for this work are also requested.

The RFI’s deadline for responses is Jan. 14. 

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