HUD Sets Focus Areas for Centers of Excellence

HUD Urban Development

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the General Services Administration’s Technology and Transformations Services unit (GSA TTS) issued six requests for information (RFI) today identifying key areas for phase two of the Centers of Excellence (CoE) program.

HUD, the second agency to join the CoE initiative, has set six focus areas after conducting a discovery sprint with GSA:

  • Moving paper-based forms to cloud-hosted web forms;
  • Centralizing into one agency contact center;
  • Building a customer experience capability;
  • Bringing on a chief data officer (CDO), and establishing a CDO office;
  • Using data visualizations to create dashboards for key stakeholders; and
  • Using analytics to ensure data-driven decisionmaking.

“We are excited to begin this next phase of our modernization efforts,” said Ralph Gaines, chief operating officer at HUD, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to seeing how these efforts will further transform the agency and make it more accountable to our customers.”

On the forms front, the discovery period found that HUD maintains over 950 paper forms, and millions of documents that need to be converted into digital forms. Working with the cloud center of excellence at TTS, the market research found a need for forms-as-a-service, intelligent data extraction, electronic record management, and an API to connect them.

On contact center services, the phase one assessment found that “HUD currently engages with customers through a patchwork of phone channels, including seven formal external-facing contact centers, 65 field offices, and numerous other phone numbers, few of which share meaningful common CRM, knowledge management, or telephony systems.” To modernize, HUD plans to create a centralized contact center, implement new systems like chatbots and CRM, and train representatives.

For customer experience, TTS and HUD interviewed 50 seniors looking for affordable housing and identified the pain points in the process. In response, the RFI aims to create an Office of Customer Experience under the chief operating officer, using contractor support to establish the office and transition to HUD staff.

With the OPEN Government Data Act establishing the requirement for each CFO Act agency to have a chief data officer, the RFI for that area focuses on support in establishing the office and sending documentation for congressional review, while allowing HUD to define the authority of the CDO.

On data visualizations, HUD is looking to provide dashboards for both program offices and an enterprise-level view of HUD for C-suite officials to monitor. The dashboard RFI is also weighted towards a fiscal view of programs, calling out the need for “data visualizations that increase financial transparency and program effectiveness.”

Finally, the analytics RFI focuses on the use of artificial intelligence, robotics process automation, and geospatial analytics to solve “high priority issues.” The capability, which will be managed by the CDO, must be end-to-end and developed in an agile fashion.

While GSA recently established the Discovery blanket purchase agreement for agencies in phase one of the CoE initiative, the RFIs show that HUD and GSA are looking to award the contracts off of IT Schedule 70.

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