IT Reform at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management

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    Henry Brown

    Was/Is extremely difficult to categorize this “blog posting” from Matthew Perry, the CIO of OPM because he covers one MASSIVE amount of ground in a very short (~500 word) posting, and because of OPM’s somewhat wide area of influence is going to have a significant impact on a whole lot of federal programs…

    I have attached the OMB Plan to Reform Federal IT Management….

    Looks like it MIGHT be an exciting time for those who are going to be around over the next couple of years!

    IT is a critical component of OPM’s ability to supply the Federal Government with the most talented, highest performing workforce available. We maintain important websites such as, administer benefits for millions of federal employees, and provide critical HR support for every federal agency. Each of these tasks is information intensive, thus OPM’s implementation of the 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management. My staff and I are working tirelessly to implement these important reforms.

    OPM has a unique role in the larger IT Reform agenda in our creation of an IT Program Management career path. Over the past six months we have worked on a tight time frame to establish this new career track for our high-performing program managers. We have published the classification title for IT program managers, researched the need for direct hire authority for IT program managers, and are in the process of developing an IT program manager competency model. As CIO, I am extremely proud of the work that my team has accomplished in this initiative and feel that this new career track will have a dramatic affect on the performance of IT programs across the Federal Government for the foreseeable future.

    A major goal of our agency is to move more processes to shared services or cloud platforms. This centralization will lead to both cost savings and improved performance. We have already begun to move the majority of our web services, including, to cloud-based platforms. We are also moving our document management to the cloud, which will allow OPM employees to share information much more efficiently. We expect that these changes alone will save the agency over $200k per year. This “Cloud First” philosophy is central to our department’s strategic plan for federal IT which includes our goal to reduce our Operations and Management expenditures by 10% per year over the next three years.

    We held our first departmental Tech Stat session on March 30th, where we evaluated our Health Claims Data Warehouse. We identified several key management and communications issues that needed to be addressed in order to ensure the system’s continued success. We established a plan for improved governance of the program by establishing stronger communication channels between key stakeholders and with the Executive Steering Committee. Further, we expect to avoid significant future costs as a result of these improvements. As we go forward, the TechStat process will continue to be a vital component of our IT Management plan.

    As we continue to implementation the IT Reform plan, I am encouraged by the remarkable progress I see here at OPM and across the entire government. This progress and the resulting best practices are both positive signs for the future of IT Reform. While there are challenges ahead, the ambitious goals set forth both in the plan and by our agency will push us to achieve results as we work to recruit the next generation of talented, dynamic federal employees.

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