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USDA's 2002 GPEA Implementation Progress Report (September ...

  1. 1. September 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture Report to the Office of Management and Budget Government Paperwork Elimination Act USDA Progress Achieving Electronic Government U.S. Department of Agriculture
  2. 2. I. Introduction This report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) documents the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) progress achieving electronic government, as required by the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) of 1998, P. L. 105-277. The report:  Provides a statistical overview of our GPEA progress to date;  Details the strategic direction enunciated in the Federal eGovernment strategy and in our eGovernment Strategic Plan FY 2002-20061, our leadership and governance structures, and improvements in our investment management process;  Depicts the current GPEA environment at USDA, including highlights of our compliance efforts toward the similar USDA-specific Freedom to E-FILE Act; GPEA-related analysis and implementation efforts over the past year in response to the specific issues outlined in OMB’s August 9, 2002 memorandum to Chief Information Officers titled “Progress Report on Implementing GPEA”; and common barriers we have encountered as we work to implement eGovernment across the enterprise;  Describes the challenges and barriers we continue to confront; and  Relates the next steps we are taking to accomplish the transformation required for eGovernment implementation as outlined by GPEA. II. GPEA Statistical Overview Along with the accompanying database and statistical reports, this strategic report outlines USDA’s plan for offering, when practicable, an option for the maintenance, submission or disclosure of information by electronic means for transactions covered by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (P.L. 104-13) and transactions not covered by the PRA. Specifically, this strategic report describes the eGovernment progress achieved since our 2001 annual report to OMB. Our focus over the past year has been to establish a clear, enterprise-wide strategic direction for eGovernment based on the principles of leveraging our investments and creating a citizen-centric government. We have consistently addressed GPEA as part of the broader eGovernment effort necessary to transform our delivery of information, programs and services. A GPEA Readiness Assessment conducted for USDA in November 2001 helped us focus our GPEA efforts for this year. This year’s report for implementing GPEA delineates 442 transactions covered by the PRA and 27 transactions not covered by the PRA. These numbers are lower than the 750 total transactions (598 PRA and 152 non-PRA) reported last year as a 1 An electronic copy of this document is available at USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 1
  3. 3. result of our efforts to establish a more specific standard across the USDA agencies for defining a GPEA transaction, i.e. information collections rather than individual forms. Of the 469 total GPEA-covered transactions this year, 271 (58%) either have already completed electronic options or will have completed them by 10/31/2003, as detailed in the table below: Completion Date Transaction % of Count Transactions Transactions completed prior to last data 9 2% call Transactions completed since last data 68 14% call Transactions to be completed by 194 41% 10/31/2003 Transactions to be completed post 24 5% 11/2003 Transactions that will not be completed 174 37% Additionally, a significant number of our transactions, 137 (30)%, link directly to a Presidential eGovernment Initiative. As we continue to work with our partners on the Presidential Initiatives to shape those efforts and as we refine the specific requirements of our own eGovernment initiatives, we will continue to reassess which GPEA-covered transactions fit projects within both types of efforts. Our ongoing analysis will tackle how best to address electronic options for those transactions as well as how we should approach developing electronic options for the remainder of the transactions. Currently, 174 transactions are planned not to offer an electronic option. A number of reasons affected our agencies’ determinations that providing electronic options for these transactions is not practicable. The most common reasons are identified below:  Certain programs do not actually require customers to complete forms or submit information. Depending on the specific requirements of the program, customers may be required to retain a copy of a document or maintain records for a specified amount of time. Although an electronic transaction is not practicable, in many instances, customers are allowed to maintain records electronically if they so choose.  In situations where programs/services are delivered through an intermediary such as a financial institution or a state agency, our USDA agencies cannot always dictate that the intermediary offers a fully electronic option to the public. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 2
  4. 4.  Some transactions do not lend themselves to an electronic alternative because the particular form or other documents must physically accompany other items such as the Phytosanitary certificates that accompany cargo shipments or comment cards integrated into the package of School Lunch food.  Transactions that require face-to-face interaction with citizens or must be conducted in an environment that does not technically support an electronic option were also deemed not practicable. Although we are striving to achieve full business transformation in all our eGovernment efforts, we recognize it is a long journey with many obstacles, from cultural and programmatic to budget and technical. As such, 273 (58%) of our GPEA transactions are planned to reach the electronic forms or the electronic transactions transformation status categories by October 2003, as reflected in the chart below. However, as part of our implementation of USDA’s five-year eGovernment Strategic Plan (described below), we will continue to encourage and guide USDA agencies in striving for process streamlining on the path to intra- agency and/or inter-agency unification. Transformation Status 16% 33% Electronic Forms Only Electronic Transactions Process Streamlining Unification: Intra-Agency 3% Unification: Inter-Agency 42% None 2% 4% For a complete statistical analysis, please see the Report Manager in the accompanying GPEA database. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 3
  5. 5. III. Strategic Direction Federal eGovernment Strategy The Freedom to E-File Act, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), and the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) with its accompanying Federal eGovernment Strategy, collectively call for a significant shift in how we conduct our business. Viewed together, they urge us to deliver information and services from our customers’ perspectives rather than our own, and to leverage investments between agencies and Federal Departments. We have attempted to weave eGovernment into all that we do and to address it first and foremost as a business issue not a technology issue. We have also established a clear governance structure President’s Management Agenda USDA USDA E-File E -FILE GPEA eGovernment Act GPEA eGovernment Act Program Program and begun a long change journey requiring education, advocacy, and extensive communications. As a partner in 19 of the 24 Presidential Initiatives, USDA has participated actively and stepped forward with human and financial capital. In addition to these resources, we have proposed creating a Presidential Initiatives $5 million competitive matching pool to further augment our efforts as part of our recent FY ’02 unobligated balances request approved by OMB on September 10. We envision this fund as a supplement to USDA agency contributions and to provide the Deputy Secretary with increased flexibility and speed in responding to the needs of the Presidential Initiative managing partners. Additionally, we have created a working group that brings together the lead USDA representatives for each of the 19 Presidential Initiative efforts in which we are participating. This group has begun meeting bi-monthly to provide status updates, examine crosscutting issues, share best practices and note dependencies. As noted in the GPEA Statistical Overview above, to date 30% of our GPEA transactions link directly to a Presidential eGovernment Initiative, and we expect this number to increase as we continue to work with the managing partners to shape these projects. As these solutions become more defined, we will gain a better understanding of how we can integrate more information collections into the business process transformation. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 4
  6. 6. Finally, we also show a dramatically increasing share of our portfolio of major investments going toward indirect support of the President’s eGovernment Initiatives. In many cases, the Presidential Initiative calls for the development of a front end to accomplish an integrated customer view and avoid redundant investments. This will often be mirrored with a USDA initiative calling for an enterprise-wide back end to complete the business transaction in an electronic environment. In other cases, the Presidential Initiatives call for the creation of integrated back end systems. So here an integrated, USDA-wide front end is warranted to assure maximum efficacy of the Presidential Initiative. In other cases, the Presidential initiative calls for a common set of solutions, as is the case for eLearning. In these instances, USDA’s initiative calls for leveraging these solutions on an enterprise basis rather than duplicate them. For further information on both our direct and indirect support of the Administration’s overall eGovernment Strategy through our participation in the Presidential eGovernment Initiatives, please refer to Deputy Secretary Moseley’s September report to OMB on our eGovernment Action Plan for USDA to “get to green”. USDA eGovernment Strategy As part of our broad change management journey, our first step was to ensure eGovernment is seen as a means of achieving our business objectives. Currently, USDA is revising its overall Departmental Strategic Plan to revolve around two fundamental goals: service to customers and efficient management. Achieving the Secretary’s vision as described in this document requires interdepartmental and intergovernmental approaches to serving America’s citizens and businesses through integrated and collaborative ventures. Beginning last October, literally hundreds of executives and non-executives, Headquarters and Field, program and technical staff – under the auspices of the Deputy Secretary – developed a far-reaching, enterprise-wide eGovernment Strategic Plan for FY 2002-2006. The Plan delineates an aggressive course of action for the Department to fulfill the letter, spirit and intent of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) and GPEA. It serves as a roadmap to: • Build on USDA’s current eGovernment capabilities; • Share best practices and lessons learned; • Break down organizational silos by taking a citizen-centered view of program and service delivery; • Avoid redundant approaches and investments by leveraging resources; • Prioritize opportunities to devote resources to those with the largest impact; and • Create a sense of ownership and shared vision for the Department. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 5
  7. 7. Our eGovernment vision of “USDA, electronically available any place, any time,” echoes the philosophy behind GPEA – improving service to our customers by making it more convenient to interact with the government through multiple venues, including electronic options. Specifically, the eGovernment initiatives advanced in the Plan, and aligned to eGovernment strategic goals and objectives, focus on using technology to achieve results for our stakeholders. In conjunction with the development of this enterprise eGovernment strategy, all USDA agencies and staff offices also were required to develop Agency eGovernment Tactical Plans that delineate how the agency will support the Departmental strategy as well as address other eGovernment priorities unique to each agency’s business. The tactical planning exercise required agencies to identify relevant GPEA transactions, key stakeholders, related Presidential and USDA eGovernment Initiatives, forecasted funding needs, performance measures, and several other critical linkages for their all of current and prospective eGovernment efforts. Recently, we have also developed an eGovernment checklist to provide internal guidance during the rulemaking process that has been particularly useful as we implement the Agriculture, Conservation, and Rural Enhancement Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-71), passed in May. Throughout our communication across the Department, we have encouraged agency program staff to address eGovernment at the outset of designing a new business process, rather than later as a reactionary means of putting a paper-based process online. The formal checklist used during the rulemaking process establishes a comprehensive set of criteria to ensure Internet-based and other electronic delivery channels have been sufficiently considered in the program development process, despite apparent constraints imposed by mandated timeframes in the legislation. This is in accord with OMB’s eGovernment Action Plan for USDA. Leadership and Governance We recognize leadership from the very top is a prerequisite to realize the promise of eGovernment. At USDA, the Deputy Secretary serves on the President’s Management Council as the executive sponsor for the PMA, including eGovernment, and provides stewardship for USDA’s eGovernment efforts. He has tasked the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), and specifically the Associate Chief Information Officer (ACIO) for Electronic Government, with leading a Departmental eGovernment Program that facilitates collaboration and provides overall strategic direction and tactical guidance to the agencies and staff offices. To achieve the enterprise-wide strategic approach described above, the OCIO worked closely with the USDA agencies and staff offices. The eGovernment Executive Council and Working Group, chaired by the ACIO for Electronic Government, serve as the formal structure for collaboration and are charged to guide the integration of eGovernment activities into USDA programs and services. The eGovernment Executive Council is comprised of Senior Executive Program USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 6
  8. 8. Leaders appointed by their Under Secretaries to represent their respective mission areas. The Working Group members are Executive Sponsors designated by their Agency Administrators. Each agency has also been asked to form an internal Agency eGovernment Steering Committee, chaired by their respective eGovernment Working Group member, to work in support of the enterprise Working Group. The composition of each Agency eGovernment Steering Committee is unique to the agency’s needs, but these committees are at a minimum comprised of program leaders and specialists representing eGovernment-related issues such as Web site management, capital planning and investment control, public affairs, information technology, security, privacy, records management, and PRA and GPEA management. As a result of our efforts to integrate GPEA into our overall eGovernment Program, a subset of each Agency eGovernment Steering Committee formed teams to work collaboratively with the Departmental Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) in developing this report. Each agency GPEA team included at least the Departmental eGovernment Working Group member, agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) staff, IT Capital Planning and budget representatives, PRA contacts, and the GPEA lead. To keep senior leadership informed about eGovernment activities at both the Departmental and agency level, the OCIO together with the eGovernment Executive Council prepares quarterly progress reports to the Secretary. These reports have encouraged an understanding of the importance of becoming more customer-centric by re-engineering service delivery. The reports also have helped executives understand the associated complexities involved with eGovernment transformation efforts. While these efforts to share information and integrate decision-making processes have made a difference, “simplifying and unifying” the way we do business requires continued effort. Given the size and diversity of USDA’s agencies, all of the governing bodies described here are crucial to the success of our overall business transformation, including near-term strategic and long-term implementation efforts. As the Department develops more corporate eGovernment programs, senior leadership is needed more than ever to overcome the organizational, cultural, and resource barriers to deploying corporate eGovernment solutions that are customer-centric. As such, in accord with the PMA, the Secretary incorporated eGovernment goals into the performance standards of USDA Senior Executive Service (SES) employees. We are holding people accountable for advancing eGovernment. These crucial steps represent a significant commitment by the Department’s leadership for USDA to meet GPEA requirements and the eGovernment goals laid out in the President’s Management Agenda. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 7
  9. 9. Lastly in this regard, we have established a strategic partnership with Accenture LLP, which has significant public and private sector experience in this regard, to help shape and implement our eGovernment Program. Budget and Capital Planning Integration To maximize impact, our eGovernment Program is committed to viewing GPEA, in particular, and eGovernment, more broadly, in the context of other legislation such as Clinger-Cohen (Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996, P.L. 104-106) and the Government Performance and Results Act, our Departmental business goals, and the President’s Management Agenda. This commitment means eGovernment planning integrates across program, budget, and technical domains. In our 2001 GPEA progress report, we identified IT Capital Planning as a key next step, and we have woven GPEA into our processes in a number of ways. This year implementing eGovernment has received priority consideration in the Department’s IT Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) and budget preparation process. In addition to our traditional investment management reviews, we conducted several iterative, detailed reviews of our budget proposals and IT investment business cases from multiple perspectives, including eGovernment, enterprise architecture, information security, and telecommunications needs. Reviewers assessed proposed initiatives to ensure they were complementary, rather than duplicative of, Presidential and USDA eGovernment initiatives; met the new eGovernment standards and criteria established by OMB; and were documented in agencies’ eGovernment Tactical Plans. To this end, they also specifically evaluated the information collections associated with each proposed initiative. This enhanced review process allowed us to eliminate potential redundancies, to identify opportunities for collaboration and leveraging resources, and to strengthen our business cases. For FY 2004, multiple budget “cross-cuts” were prepared, including ones for eGovernment and Cyber Security. Under the CPIC process, our Executive Information Technology Investment Review Board (EITIRB), chaired by the Deputy Secretary, ensures our IT investments are based on sound business cases, aligned with the Department’s strategic mission, and prioritized for funding in the annual budget preparation process. Reflective of our eGovernment strategy, the EITIRB has approved a dramatic shift in our portfolio toward eGovernment. We are working hard to translate this support into budget dollars amidst other competing and meritorious priorities. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 8
  10. 10. IV. Current Environment In this section, we detail our efforts advancing E-FILE, a predecessor to GPEA for electronic filing deadlines as well as directly answer the specific questions from the OMB GPEA call memo, namely:  “Identify new agency and cross-agency initiatives…”  “Identify practicable/not practicable by 2003 reversals”  “Identify priority projects behind schedule” The E-FILE Act of 2000 It is important to underscore that USDA is the only Federal Department subject to the Freedom to E-File Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-222). Similar in intent to GPEA, with earlier deadlines, this legislation provided additional impetus for our eGovernment efforts, which has helped us move more quickly up the learning curve of customer- focused eGovernment planning and implementation. E-File requires the USDA county-based agencies (CBAs) to, among other things, establish a consistent electronic filing and retrieval system to enable farmers, other agricultural producers, and Rural Development customers to access and file paperwork electronically with the Department by June 20, 2002. The Act also requires USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide agricultural producers the option of obtaining, over the Internet from approved insurance providers, all forms and other information, and filing electronically all paperwork required for participation by December 1, 2001. Despite legislative requirements that require separate implementation plans for the GPEA and E-File Act, we are integrating these efforts across the Department. The CBAs (Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development) met the fundamental requirements of the Freedom to E-File Act’s June 20, 2002 deadline. Collectively, the CBAs had 207 electronic forms available for customer access on June 17, 2002, through their common eForms service. As of August 15, 2002, a total of 262 forms, which represents 34 GPEA transactions, were posted to the eForms service. This represents 87 percent of the 301 forms selected by the CBAs for deployment under the Freedom to E-File Act. The CBAs expect to deploy the 39 remaining forms by September 30, 2002. To meet the requirements of both E-File and GPEA, the CBAs used a Web-based software application that enables agricultural producers to locate agency forms, obtain instructions on completing the forms, record the necessary data, and submit the data to the appropriate CBA office. The E-Forms service, whose user interface is modeled after FirstGov, is available from the CBAs through their common web site at The site also hosts a variety of additional integrated USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 9
  11. 11. services for this customer group, including an events calendar, an e-mail listserv, links to news and information, and direct access to other CBAs web-based applications. These services will continue to be expanded as new ones become available. Additionally, in addressing E-File and GPEA, the CBAs employed a Web-based Centralized Authentication and Authorization Facility (WebCAAF). It serves as a fully functional, electronic signature service that provides an alternative to traditional ink signatures in support of the electronic submission of data to CBAs field offices. WebCAAF consists of an integrated set of management and technical processes that support customer registration and credential management services, employee and customer authentication and authorization for access to restricted services and information, and management of records associated with accessing CBAs electronic services. USDA’s implementation of WebCAAF was achieved at a significant cost savings over traditional Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) implementations. The service is intended to support all applicable CBAs electronic services with the agricultural producer community. Ultimately, the CBAs work toward meeting E-File requirements has created a solid, scalable foundation on which the CBAs and other USDA agencies can build additional eGovernment services. New Initiatives that Demonstrate Great Benefit While cognizant we still have much to accomplish, USDA has had a number of eGovernment successes since our 2001 annual progress report. Our biggest efforts and successes this year have been in change management and strategic planning, both critical elements to ensuring eGovernment is implemented as a true business transformation. In our eGovernment Strategic Plan, initiatives were segmented into two broad categories, strategic and enabling. Strategic initiatives use eGovernment as a means of automating a core business process. Conversely, enabling initiatives represent policies, practices, technologies and infrastructure required for successful and efficacious implementation of one or more strategic initiatives. In ALL cases, extreme care was taken to make sure that all of our Departmental Initiatives complement, rather than duplicate, the Presidential Initiatives. Following the initial Departmental and Agency eGovernment planning, our eGovernment Executive Council and EITIRB identified 12 Departmental initiatives as high-priority and, under their auspices, we embarked on an intensive, enterprise-wide and cross-agency business case development process. Over the past several months, more than 100 people, encompassing program, technical and budget staff from across the Department, worked together to develop joint business cases for these high-priority prospective initiatives. Across the USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 10
  12. 12. Department, business case teams have been collaborating to share ideas and information, discover dependencies and connections. Each business case delineates a clear As-Is state and the desired To-Be state, highlights the value proposition, describes high-level milestones, summarizes the costs and benefits (both qualitative and quantitative), and outlines the project’s risks, dependencies, high-level performance measures and associated GPEA transactions. The resulting assessments were categorized in the Departmental CPIC process as “Pre-Select”, which is the initial phase of defining an investment’s business needs. These business cases represent a dramatic shift in both our collaboration toward enterprise-wide solutions and in our IT portfolio toward eGovernment in accord with OMB guidance. All 12 were reviewed formally by the OCIO, approved to move forward in our CPIC process by the EITIRB, and the teams are now embarking on detailed “Select Phase” business cases that articulate more specific requirements and plans for each initiative. These projects are on an aggressive timeline, with most of the business cases targeted to complete the next phase of requirements within 90 days. In accord with the spirit of the PMA, we have set a goal of achieving measurable results within 18 to 24 months of this “Select Phase.” Below are summaries of the Departmental eGovernment solutions identified, prioritized and defined since our last GPEA report. All of these initiatives are cross- mission area, enterprise-wide or intergovernmental in scope — adhering to the course established by the Federal enterprise architecture framework, and helping advance our emerging Enterprise Architecture efforts. All of these initiatives are designed to simplify and unify our service delivery through more convenient presentation to customers and reuse of the information we manage. And all of these initiatives are designed to be of “great benefit” as measured by an order of magnitude improvement in either a mission critical process or key support function as described below. Enterprise-wide Enabling Initiatives:  Content Management– will provide the tools and establish business processes required to manage the lifecycle of placing content online, from creation to delivery to archiving. Examples of content may include news, press releases, data, forms, or other business information. Content management will allow the enterprise to publish content more quickly and with greater accuracy. Content management also will promote the re- use of content equating to less development time for our online web applications.  Data Management– will establish the fundamental governance, processes, and standards required to promote enterprise-wide data sharing and reuse. Citizens, business partners, and employees will have access to higher quality data at the time of need. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 11
  13. 13.  Information Management– will define processes for managing USDA’s electronic assets (documents, records, correspondence, etc.) from creation to organization to archiving, in close accordance with content management. Information management will also define how our electronic assets are classified, thus providing them context to enable effective searching and reuse.  Portal Services– will provide single access points for users of USDA’s Web sites, and applications. Portals will aggregate our information into appropriate categories according to the type of tasks our constituents want to perform, making interaction with USDA online more efficient.  Web Presence– will create a style guide and user-interface standards for all USDA Web-based sites, portals, and online applications. A consistent “look and feel” as well as a simplified, intentions-based design will improve the ease with which citizens, business partners, and employees interact with USDA.  eLearning— will provide a toolset for trainers, employees and managers, and will streamline the process to access training information on multiple delivery platforms including the Web, video, audio, and videoconference. eLearning will also leverage economies of scale and reduce redundancy by allowing best-of-breed, standardized, curriculum purchases; improved distribution of computer-based training; online registration; and online curriculum administration.  eAuthentication— will standardize a suite of user authentication and authorization tools, which will reduce redundancy in authentication applications and processes. eAuthentication will use a baseline of required security services-- from functional area risk assessments and an evaluation of current and commercial tools and solutions-- to develop and test a prototype solution. eAuthentication will also provide a standard framework for risk identification, management, and assessment. Departmental Strategic Initiatives:  eGrants – will provide, when coupled with the Presidential eGrants Initiative front-end, a one-stop shopping experience for users by creating a Web-enabled and fully integrated grant-making system environment and seamless end-to-end grant-making process for all USDA agencies. The system will reduce paper-based manual processes, will decrease processing time for both applicants and administrators, and will improve performance management and reporting capabilities. eGrants will also standardize application, reporting, and data elements to uniformly post data. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 12
  14. 14.  eLoans – will build on existing efforts to create a Web-enabled and fully integrated loan-making system environment and seamless loan-making process. The system will reduce paper-based manual processes and improve performance management and reporting capabilities regarding loan portfolio. eLoans will create a one-stop shopping experience for customers, reducing application and processing time. eLoans will also centralize reporting capability, which allows viewing of USDA-wide aggregates on the loan portfolio.  Food Safety and Security Tools – will provide and enhance vital crisis coordination and data-sharing capabilities to maintain an effective food safety system. These tools will provide field employees with access to corporate data, enabling better food safety hazard detection and decision- making. The project will also reduce manual processes, produce more accurate data, and help USDA better prevent, mitigate, and respond to food-borne illness outbreaks. Streamlining will reduce regulatory and paperwork burdens on business partners.  Online Trade Assistance — will provide a one-stop shop for trade customers, leveraging the technology defined in the Portals enabling initiative. The initiative will decrease system maintenance costs, decreases program participation time for customers, consolidates business practices, and increases the rate of best-practices enabling technologies adoption.  Web-based Supply Chain Management – will replace the aging Processed Commodities Inventory Management System (PCIMS) and fundamentally transform and enhance delivery and operation of commodity programs. Develop and implement a modern supply chain management system that will optimize domestic and international food programs by leveraging the best aspects of our current model, incorporating recommendations of previous business process reengineering efforts, and developing new capabilities. This effort will focus on satisfying the needs of employees, food customers and suppliers by providing the information, tools and resources they need to receive and provide food across the globe. Project Practicability While we continue to assess the practicability of electronic options for our remaining transactions, the Department does not currently have any high-priority GPEA transactions that are behind schedule. However, as we proceed with offering electronic capabilities for our customers, refinements to implementation plans are sometimes necessary as complexities are discovered. For example, since the 2001 GPEA report, several USDA agencies involved in implementing the Freedom to E- File Act have identified transactions that require signatures from multiple parties. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 13
  15. 15. Modifying the business process and implementing workflow tools to accommodate this requirement has led the agencies to re-evaluate their capability to meet the October 2003 deadline. Another USDA agency that prepared a GPEA implementation plan in 2000 and targeted many PRA collections for an “electronic transaction” transformation status, has now revised those plans in lieu of a larger, more thorough process streamlining initiative. Accordingly, a number of transactions will not offer any electronic capability by October 2003 as the agency feels focusing all resources on the longer-term project is more advantageous to its customers and will have a better return on investment. Projects Behind Schedule No priority eGovernment projects are behind schedule. V. KEY CHALLENGES USDA’s program leaders and IT community face significant challenges in making the transformation to eGovernment. We are working to address them consistently to ensure our eGovernment projects maintain momentum and achieve their established milestones. In last year’s report, we cited many challenges:  Managing change to eGovernment while maintaining existing program models;  Prioritizing eGovernment initiatives;  Preparing our workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary for this transformation to succeed.  Reengineering business processes to be customer-centric and optimized for delivery over the Internet;  Funding for eGovernment within existing budgets; and  Providing a secure, reliable, Web-based infrastructure capable of delivering programs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Although we still face each of these challenges every day, we have made progress in addressing all of these elements over the past year. We created the leadership and governance structure described in Section III of this document as a means of USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 14
  16. 16. managing change across the Department, and of establishing a decision-making body and process for addressing difficult issues as they arise. We also established standard prioritization criteria, which our eGovernment Working Group applied to finalize the list of 24 eGovernment initiatives presented in our eGovernment strategy, and by which our eGovernment Executive Council determined the first projects to begin implementation. Our communication efforts have focused on increasing awareness and understanding of eGovernment with several consistent key messages, including the core principles of transforming USDA to be more citizen-centric and leveraging our investments to maximize value. By utilizing key marketing tools as well as our formal governance structure, which extends into every USDA agency and staff office, we have made a strong start in this regard. However, we recognize we still have a long journey ahead of us before every employee is completely armed with all the knowledge and skills they need to play their respective parts in a full business transformation. One of the barriers we have run up against most consistently has been the sentiment that “there’s not enough funding” for eGovernment. Through working much more closely with the budgeting and capital planning processes in the Department, we have managed to build some momentum in that area. Through encouraging resource sharing across USDA agencies and other Federal Departments and documenting long-term resource needs in our business cases, we are also finding other ways to address constraints on human and financial capital. This continues to be our greatest challenge and the greatest threat to our sustaining the tremendous energy we have created in support of President Bush’s vision for expanding electronic government. Finally, building a technical infrastructure capable of supporting our eGovernment vision of “USDA, available electronically any place, any time”, is still of critical importance and a high priority. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 15
  17. 17. VI. Next Steps In accord with the President’s Management Agenda, USDA is committed to aggressively pursuing eGovernment, including GPEA and E-File compliance. We will expand our communication and change management activities, as well as actively integrate eGovernment further into the budget and CPIC processes. We will continue to aggressively manage realization of our eGovernment Strategic Plan. Additionally, we will focus on the following activities:  Quarterly Reporting and Scorecard Process - At the beginning of this fiscal year, OCIO will prepare detailed analyses of each USDA agency’s GPEA progress submission to provide recommendations for furthering the Department’s overall efforts toward compliance. Additionally, standard criteria will rate each agency’s progress toward implementation. Agencies will be required to update their GPEA Progress Report information quarterly in conjunction with a quarterly eGovernment Program reporting requirement that will feed into an internal management scorecard delivered to our senior leadership.  Information Value Chain - USDA’s efforts to update the GPEA Progress Report are integrated into a much broader effort to more clearly define the relationship between programs, information collections, supporting information technology (IT) systems, and IT investments. When completed, our “information value chain” for each information collection will provide: • Better accountability and collaboration among agency functions through clear linkages among programs, information collections, IT systems, and IT investments; and • Ability to integrate across agency lines in support of initiatives impacting a program area or customer group, and better IT investment planning to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.  Integration of GPEA Compliance with PRA Approval Process - We will issue updated guidance for USDA agencies to follow when obtaining PRA approval from OMB to collect information. The revised procedures will address additional requirements for specifying how information technology is being used to reduce burden on the public and specifically, what steps the agency is taking to comply with GPEA. USDA/OCIO/eGovernment Program • September 23, 2002 Page 16