Transforming IT at VA: Office of Information and Technology Midyear Review
Published: July 13, 2016
VA Office of Information and Technology's (OI&T) newly released midyear review profiles the office’s many accomplishments over the last year and paints a picture of a future IT infrastructure capable of delivering world-class services to our nation’s veterans.
The report states, “This Midyear Transformation Review tells the story of OI&T’s achievements to date — including investment in healthcare IT, cybersecurity, infrastructure, and our workforce — and shares the trajectory of our enterprise’s flight path for the remainder of 2016.”
With the appointment of LaVerne Council as VA CIO in July of 2015, VA OI&T embarked on a journey to become less complex, easier to do business with, and to assess “what the veteran really needs from technology.”
OI&T aligned its approach with Secretary McDonald’s MyVA initiative and established the guiding principles of transparency, accountability, innovation, and teamwork. OI&T’s transformation centers around three goals and five new functional areas:
The Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) manages IT development across the department and provides an enterprise-wide view of all ongoing projects. This new office actively manages cyber risks associated with all projects, and ties project performance to outcomes that directly improve the veteran experience.
The new IT Account Management function consists of three Account Managers who partner with National Cemetery Administration, VBA and VHA, and serve in a lead portfolio manager capacity for each administration.
The Strategic Sourcing function aims to make the most of IT spending by focusing on buying existing cutting-edge solutions before building expensive, customized solutions.
The Quality and Compliance function measures outcomes and partners with oversight bodies.
The new Data Management Organization function will launch later this year and focus on the collection, protection, and analysis of VA’s data.
The midyear review also profiles key accomplishments of OI&T:
- Submitted its Enterprise Security Strategy to Congress in September 2015
- On track to close all of the IG’s recommendations by the end of 2017
- 10% of the 2016 audit findings are new and VA is triaging any repeat findings to swiftly eliminate potential vulnerabilities
- Reduced privileged accounts with access to VA systems by 95%
- Mitigated 21 million critical and high-security vulnerabilities
- Identified and reduced use of prohibited software by 90%
- Strictly enforcing industry best practice, two-factor authentication for users across VA
- Met initial interoperability requirements outlined in Section 713(b) (1) of the FY 2014 NDAA through delivery of the Joint Legacy Viewer (JLV)
- Planning to roll out over the next two years the enterprise Health Management Platform (eHMP), which builds on the foundation of JLV
- VistA 4 will deliver even more functionality in 2018. However, the report states that even “the aggressive timeline for upgrading VistA cannot match the accelerating trends of both technology and veterans’ needs. The Digital Health Platform will support the next generation VA — and veteran — into the future.”
Centers of Excellence
- Created an Enterprise Program Management Office (EPMO) to align project portfolios with long-term strategy
- Created the Account Management Office to align priorities and enhance partnerships with the National Cemetery Administration, VBA and VHA
- Replaced the Program Management Accountability System with the veteran-focused Integration Process (VIP) to streamline IT management, resulting in an estimated 85% cost avoidance in overhead across the organization
- Reorganized field operations to reflect MyVA districts
- Created a National Command Center in Austin, Texas to monitor IT service delivery nationwide and respond to challenges faster than ever before
According to the report, OI&T will continue to eliminate material weaknesses, streamline processes and develop capabilities to improve outcomes. OI&T striving to transform into an organization capable of tapping into technology innovation to better serve veterans.