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USDA Announces New IT Operating Model

(WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2017) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will revamp its Information Technology (IT) operating model to increase efficiency in serving its customers.

“When I was sworn in, Secretary Perdue charged me to help him make USDA the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the entire federal government,” Deputy Secretary Censky said. “One way to do that is by instituting a new operating model for IT. We have no choice but to modernize – we cannot continue to conduct business for the next 150 years based on splintered and out-of-date operating models.”

Gary Washington, USDA’s Acting Chief Information Officer, added, “We know that our ability to effectively manage and modernize information technology systems will be a key success factor in USDA achieving the Secretary’s vision for a more customer-focused organization. We are excited with our plan to harness technology that will enable informed decision-making and improve the experiences customers have when interacting with USDA, whether they are working with us online or sitting across the table. The opportunities available for IT to benefit USDA’s customers today are significant and far-reaching.”

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has been actively working to position USDA as the best-managed agency in the Federal government. The USDA touches each American citizen every day through its work with America’s farmers, ranchers, national forest users, rural communities, consumers, trade partners, agricultural industry, scientific researchers, and the public. To best serve customers, USDA is becoming a data-driven organization that can provide timely and accurate information at the fingertips of customers and employees.

In order to ensure a smooth transition, USDA will work with the White House Office of American Innovation to execute a series of key strategies:

  • Strengthen strategic IT governance by having a single USDA Chief Information Officer (CIO) and one Assistant CIO for each mission area, who will focus on improving IT for their mission specific services and programs. This will reduce the number of CIOs within USDA from 22 down to one, with seven assistant CIOs.
  • Consolidate end-user services and data centers from 39 USDA data centers to a single data center and a back-up. This move will provide a cost-effective, high quality department-wide helpdesk and reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
  • Enable a strategic approach to data management and introduce data-driven capabilities by implementing executive dashboard solutions with USDA-wide data.
  • Improve the USDA customer experience by delivering all new Farm Bill programs online and creating online service portals that are easy-to-use, include additional self-service capabilities, and integrate data for common customers.

Updating the critical IT operating model enables USDA to make effective strategic decisions, improve customer experience, become increasingly more data-driven and adopt new technologies, all without a reduction to the workforce.


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