Release of 3 RFQs ushers HUD into phase 2 of IT modernization initiative

The Department of Housing and Urban Development kicked off phase two of its IT modernization Centers of Excellence initiative with the release of three solicitations.

HUD and the General Services Administration, which is providing technical support through its Technology Transformation Service, posted the details of the request for quotes Tuesday on GitHub. HUD and GSA expect to release three more request for quotes in the coming months.

The solicitations follow nearly a year of discovery work starting when the Office of Management and Budget named HUD the second CoE agency in September 2018. The Agriculture Department,  the Office of Personnel Management  and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are the three other agencies under the CoE umbrella.

“The CoE team used recommendations and suggestions gathered during the discovery and assessment work, and industry feedback from the draft RFQ, to finalize these procurements,” the notice on Github states. “The feedback helped the CoE to allow all procurements to have contractor teaming arrangements so contractors can provide a complete solution, [to] provide more clarity around the role HUD will play in procuring vendors and [to] identify whom the contractor must collaborate with at HUD throughout the period of performance.”

Through the phase one work, HUD and GSA determined the agency needed to address six modernization areas:

  • Develop a cloud-based electronic records management (ERM) system to support multiple data sources, as well an intelligent data extraction (IDE) capability for the extraction of written material from paper forms (Cloud Adoption)
  • Centralize HUD’s knowledge base and customer inquiries into one contact center called HUDCentral (Contact Center)
  • Build an agencywide customer experience capability (Customer Experience)
  • Set up an Office of the Chief Data Officer, which will manage data as a strategic asset across HUD (Data Analytics)
  • Use data visualization techniques to create dashboards that provide HUD stakeholders with key data points, increase financial transparency and implement enterprise data management solutions (Data Analytics)
  • Use advanced analytics techniques to ensure data-driven decision-making is established throughout HUD (Data Analytics)

The RFQs address the ERM, customer experience and the chief data officer’s office.

Under the electronic records management solicitation, HUD wants to stop accepting millions of paper forms, which require manual data entry and makes data gathering much more difficult.

“The contractor must implement an ERM capability and develop an open application programming interface (API) that allows for modularized integrations with existing and custom-based services,” HUD and GSA state in the RFQ. “Rollout of the ERM capability will target individual program areas, leading up to enterprisewide adoption.”

HUD seeks help on three main tasks and may add two optional ones later on. The first mandatory requirement is the electronic records management capability to capture, organize, manage and store all forms data entered by citizens and businesses.

The second mandatory task is intelligent data extraction, where the contractor will provide character recognition technology to capture data from PDFs and other documents.

The third mandatory task is to develop the API.

The RFQ is for one year with two 12-month options for a total of three years.

Bids for the ERM RFQ are due by Oct. 9.

Customer experience needs improvement

Under the customer experience RFQ, HUD and GSA want to build a centralized customer experience capability under a new Office of Customer Experience.

The contractor will “provide HUD with the ability to have a clear shared vision of how to serve its customers, coordinate and streamline operations, develop comprehensive standards for measuring CX, reduce cost through centralized planning, identify customer issues early and before they become widespread, improve employee retention and recruitment, implement changes in how services are delivered to measureably improve customer and citizen experiences and satisfaction and foster a customer-focused culture at HUD via CX activities and training,” the RFQ states.

The need for improved customer service is not new for HUD. The latest data from the ACSI customer service index rating shows the agency at the bottom of the list with a score of 57.

“If not for a handful of very dissatisfying subscription TV and internet service companies that score in the mid-to-low 50s, HUD would perform worse than all 380+ companies measured in the ACSI,” the June 2019 report states.

The RFQ includes nine task orders and one optional, including operationalizing an Office of Customer Experience, develop prototype projects and build an internal customer experience capacity.

The RFQ is for one year with two 12-month options for a total of three years.

Bids for the customer experience RFQ are due by Oct. 4.

Creating a CDO office

The third RFQ is to set up the chief data officers’ office.

“This must be achieved in a manner that allows the selected CDO and HUD executives to define the authority of the OCDO, finalize a communication plan, submit a Congressional review/approval package for the OCDO’s operations, support that process and provide base functionalities of an OCDO for HUD on an enterprisewide level,” the solicitation states. “Additionally, this must be done in a way that establishes and maintains a formal data governance steering committee and working group, data quality and data certification policies, an enterprise-wide data asset inventory, business glossary, metadata and master data management, a HUD Open Data Portal and a self-service data analytics environment.”

Agencies had until July 13 to designate a CDO as required under the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. HUD has not yet named a permanent chief data analytics, or chief data officer. Sairah Ijaz is filling that role on an acting basis.

The RFQ includes five task areas, including using data to improve financial decisions and establishing enterprise data governance across the agency.

The RFQ is for one year with two 12-month and possibly one six-month options for a potential total of three-and-a-half years.

Bids for the customer experience RFQ are due by Oct. 4.

HUD and GSA say it will release three more RFQs around creating a central contact center, providing data visualization tools and providing advanced analytic for the CDO.

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