With two separate Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) awards already under its belt, the Department of Labor (DoL) is seeing the benefits of agency leadership’s buy-in into the funding concept as a way to make quicker headway on pressing IT modernization projects, the agency’s chief technology officer said at MeriTalk’s TMF Forward virtual event on Dec. 16.

CTO Sanjay Koyani said his agency sees TMF as an opportunity to advance its modernization efforts, and that leadership has no hesitancy in utilizing that funding source.

“There are two things we’ve found that I think reduced any hesitancy certainly … the first is leadership and buy-in,” said Koyani. “Our CIO has served as an executive champion on this, promoting this opportunity.”

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“Maybe even more important is establishing systems for proposal identification and review with other leaders at DoL,” he continued.

Koyani talked about the Labor Department’s experience with two separate TMF awards, with both targeting greater efficiency within the agency, and also improving customer experience.

The first was a $3.5 million award to modernize a 10-year old legacy visa system. That project, he said, allowed DoL to go from a paper-based system to “an efficient cloud-based digital application system that really proved invaluable.”

The payoff from the project has been substantial.  As a result, DoL has been able to save about $2 million a year by eliminating printing and mailing costs for the visa system, and has been able to issue more than 1.1 million visa certifications during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Labor Department won the second TMF award earlier this year, totaling $9.6 million, with a focus on transforming enterprise data management analytics capabilities.

“Like other Federal agencies, I think we find ourselves to be in some ways data rich, but information poor, and so the need to really get into that data and transform it is important,” said Koyani. “We’ve identified several data-driven use cases at the agency that will help us to unlock data for a greater insight into integration.”

Koyani said those use cases are being used as requirements to fill gaps in the agency’s current data management, data analytics, and open-API capabilities.

Lastly, Koyani offered a bit of advice from DoL’s experience with TMF regarding the value of good communications. “I think that’s key: communicate and collaborate across organization to identify the mission projects that will be beneficial to multiple stakeholders,” he advised.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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