How the Department of Labor models government digitization

  • Ryan Mullaney
  • Customer Stories
  • Solutions
  • 2023
January 30, 2023

Government digitization: Department of Labor building

Agencies have taken a siloed approach to deploying technology solutions to meet government digitization and modernization goals. Although this allows them to roll out rich digital experiences for citizens and employees, it’s not a scalable method—nor is it effective in terms of cost and resources.

Like many agencies, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had several key platforms in place to drive its digitization efforts, but the management of these platforms lacked centralization. Business users were able to get the function they needed from the solutions, but the chief information officer didn’t see the expected return on investment.

The DOL wanted to implement a shared services model to move away from fragmented enterprise platform deployment. When Deputy Chief Technology Officer Michele Thomas joined the DOL in 2020, her responsibilities included investigating how to get more value out of enterprise software investments.

Assessing the situation

Thomas quickly realized five contractor teams were working on the Now Platform with no oversight or governance. Each team made changes and customizations to meet its contract without coordinating with any other group.

This led to overlaps, as well as working functionality for one team but broken functionality for another. In fact, Thomas and her team found 17,000 custom fields, 40 custom tables, and complex and unscalable workflows in their ServiceNow instance—with an ineffective configuration management database (CMDB) that held more duplicative than nonduplicative data.

Thomas knew she needed to consolidate all the work on the platform under a single team that could centrally govern and manage all operations and development. She worked with the DOL’s Office of Procurement to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for a single contract to support ServiceNow operations, maintenance, and development.

Awarded in September 2021 to Accenture Federal Services (AFS), the contract enabled the DOL to begin the next government fiscal year with a single office responsible for the redesign of the ServiceNow instance.

Starting from scratch

After a thorough analysis of the state of the platform and its use across the DOL, AFS offered three options to drive more value from the platform:

  1. Conduct a break/fix process on the system

  2. Use a phased approach to fix the existing instances in batches

  3. Start from scratch and reimplement ServiceNow under a single program management office with a single contractor

Using 99.9% of the out-of-the-box functionality in the Now Platform helped eliminate more than 17,000 lines of custom code and put the DOL on the latest version of the platform software.

AFS recommended starting from scratch. The DOL agreed. Although that approach would require the most work and a decent upfront investment, it held the most promise to meet the organization’s long-term goals of efficient enterprise software.

AFS assured the DOL that doing away with the original solution was a natural consequence of technological evolution. A full rebuild, back to baseline with governance, would help prevent a repeat of this situation. It would also allow the DOL to use the platform in the present while enabling future additions and enhancements.

Refreshing the experience

The rebuild began in March 2022 with meetings to understand business requirements. The collaborative effort involved stakeholders, developers, business analysts, user experience experts, and engineers. The AFS and ServiceNow teams aligned business requirements with the platform’s out-of-the-box functionality, eliminating customizations and enabling scalability.

In November 2022, eight months after the effort began, the DOL flipped the switch on an entirely new ServiceNow implementation. The was a seamless transition from the legacy to back-baseline environment, with no system downtime. Thomas and her team responded to minor issues in real time via a Microsoft Teams meeting each workday post launch for two weeks.

People asked questions from how to run a report with the new interface to how to solve reporting functionality issues. By the second week, the team faced very few calls, confirming people had learned the new interface and appreciated the streamlined processes.

Reaping the rewards

Using 99.9% of the out-of-the-box functionality in the Now Platform helped eliminate more than 17,000 lines of custom code and put the DOL on the latest version of the platform software. As a result, enhancements can be easily managed and implemented. The rebuild:

  • Configured discovery and integrated Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager while reducing processing time by 80%

  • Scalable data-driven workflows and automation for 50+ catalog items incorporating service and asset management

  • Reestablished asset and CMDB in collaboration with discovery, reducing duplication by more than 99%

A streamlined demand module and project and portfolio management module now provide visibility and actionable reporting across the enterprise. The solution includes a new asset management capability that enables cost and inventory tracking, management, and reporting in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) technology business management budget requirements.

The user experience improved greatly and now includes a 508-compliant interface. The redesign met White House/OMB orders and memoranda and eliminated technical debt.

Find out more about how ServiceNow helps government deliver better experiences.

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