Demand for Technology Transformation Services Grows in the Pandemic
Published: June 24, 2020
Federal agencies are turning to the General Services Administration‘s Technology Transformation Services team for help with rising digital technology needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- TTS and its three primary organizations – 18F, Centers of Excellence and Presidential Innovation Fellows - are playing a crucial role in meeting agency needs for digital solutions in response to the pandemic
- The current COVID-19 environment amplifies cross-agency initiatives at the TTS, such as FedRAMP and USA.gov.
- TTS has reverted 15-20% of work hours to the pandemic, directly assisting agencies such as the Small Business Administration and Department of Health and Human Services to implement quick-turnaround modern technologies demanded by the pandemic.
The goal of the Technology Transformation Services (TTS), housed under the General Services Administration (GSA), is to accelerate digital technologies into the federal space to improve public sector services and workforce capabilities. TTS is comprised of three distinct organizations: 18F, IT Centers of Excellence and Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF), all working to apply modern technologies throughout the federal space.
TTS is strapped with its own solutions and tools in place, making it a prime target for assistance to agencies facing increased needs during the pandemic for digital adoption, teleworking, and displaying massive amounts of information in a short amount of time.
Of the pandemic, TTS Director Anil Cheriyan says, “This is the time for our teams to really shine.”
Within the first two months of the pandemic, TTS clocked 10,000 hours of work in COVID-related projects, averaging 15-20% of total TTS hours, which does not count the contractors the organization is using.
An Increase in Cross-Agency Initiatives
In particular, TTS is received a lot of attention from federal departments for their FedRAMP systems, with upwards of 1,000 requests from agencies wanting to reuse FedRAMP for their growing pandemic-related needs.
Citizen-wide services out of TTS, such as USA.gov, digital.gov and search.gov have also grown in demand due to the virus.
Specifically, USA.gov is handling key messages from partner agencies with a burst of incoming calls and chats to its call center. These activities are up 75% from the same period last year, with TTS handling the explosive volume in a telework state.
Small Business Administration
Aside from its cross-agency initiatives, TTS is coming to the aid of partner agencies to help develop pandemic-related programs.
Among them is the Small Business Administration (SBA), where the TTS login team provided authentication technology, through its login.gov core platform, to support the agency’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with more than 110,000 log-ons. TTS and SBA quickly stood up the technology in less than a week to meet the first set of PPP loans disbursement, with TTS assisting in the second wave of loans as well.
Health and Human Services
Another crucial project TTS participated in is the Health and Human Services (HHS) set up of telehealth.hhs.gov. With growing concerns of doctor’s appointments from the public during the pandemic, HHS and the TTS PIF team collaborated to accomplish the telehealth research site in a week’s time. The site now serves as a central hub for telehealth information.
Moving forward, the TTS organization will evaluate the nature of its work to apply to its reopening strategy. Work-life balance will be top of mind, with an emphasis in making collaboration tools replace effectively replace, as much as possible, in-person networking conversations. As the sudden rush and surprise in change of operations from the pandemic wanes, TTS will return its focus to 2020 priorities, which include: AI, movement to the cloud, Omni Channel Experience, identity and accelerators – all focus areas very much applicable to the federal government’s recovery efforts.