Page 43 - FCW, November/December 2021
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OSCAL could streamline and improve the accuracy of all three FedRAMP authorization steps.
reviews that are of higher value.”
The FedRAMP team is running a pilot test with to create a security package in OSCAL and run the valida- tions against it. The team is monitoring the amount of time it takes to get a cloud service offering into the FedRAMP Mar- ketplace and how significantly OSCAL can reduce the amount of back-and-forth
between CSPs and review teams.
The ultimate goal is for agencies to have faster access to secure, trustwor-
thy cloud solutions.
Innovating IRS IT Services Through RPA and AI-Based Operations
Internal Revenue Service
It all started with a chatbot named Winnie that was designed to ease IRS employees’ migration to Microsoft Win- dows 10. But the technology ended up having a major impact on IT operations.
The chatbot facilitated 26,391 unique sessions with IRS employees seeking service-desk support during the transi- tion to Windows 10, addressing close to 70,000 inquiries, and significantly reduced wait times. By quickly answer- ing common migration questions, the chatbot freed IT specialists to handle more complex issues.
Winnie is just a sample of the inno- vations coming from the IRS’ User and Network Services (UNS) team. Through early adoption of artificial intelligence and robotic process auto- mation, the team has targeted IT sup- port issues with RPA, specifically ones that require substantial resources.
For example, account lockouts rep- resented 54% of service-desk calls until
UNS installed the LAN Unlock RPA on each IT specialist’s computer. When the IT employee triggers the RPA, it opens a ticket, validates that the caller has an account, unlocks the account and closes the ticket. That approach has reduced the average time spent with each caller from 22 minutes to 7 min- utes, saving an estimated 500,000 hours of manual work per year.
Other innovations include the T3PO bot, which helps technicians automati- cally update the asset management database to add new IRS-furnished devices so they can be deployed imme- diately; a virtual assistant from eGain that is helping UNS provide frontline customer support; and a virtual agent that fields human resources-related questions from employees. Finally, a voice bot used natural language processing to respond to an incred- ible 875,000 taxpayer inquiries about COVID-19 economic impact payments and has a completion rate of over 40%.
The team’s innovations helped the IRS deliver better service at a time when the agency was front and cen- ter in providing economic relief to the American people.
Isolated Secure Laboratory Environment
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Because their operating systems and configurations often don’t meet fed- eral security mandates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s laboratory instruments and computers typically cannot connect to CDC’s busi- ness network, which hampers the data sharing that is essential for researchers.
CDC’s Isolated Secure Laboratory Environment is changing that. ISLE has standardized firewall rules that allow lab equipment to connect and access limited CDC resources. Connections can be expanded to include nonstan- dard ISLE configurations on approval from CDC’s IT team.
“This network will have the core
rising star
Logan Metcalf
Business Manager, FEDSIM
General Services Administration
Despite having just one year of federal IT service under his belt, Logan Metcalf became a key player in the General Services Administra- tion’s Assisted Acquisition Services as it moved its Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM) to a new system.
Metcalf took a leadership role throughout the year-long transi- tion to a converged system called ASSIST 2.0, which will help GSA meets its modernization goals while reducing costs and streamlining compliance. Metcalf worked long hours to ensure that FEDSIM was prepared for the transition, and he was the central point of contact for all communications, training, test- ing, asset review and process man- agement for the over 300 members of the FEDSIM community.
His team painstakingly mapped contract and financial information for active projects to ensure data integrity. Fortunately, Metcalf recog- nized systemic data migration errors and halted the scheduled release
of ASSIST 2.0. Without his careful review, the system might have gone live with significant contract, finan- cial and data errors. Instead, 315 active and pre-award contracts and over 550 unique interagency agree- ments worth a total of $30 billion were successfully migrated without major errors.
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