In its third round of funding, the Tech Modernization Fund Board has issued a single $20.7 million award to the General Services Administration to accelerate development of its modernized payroll shared service, NewPay.
This is now the seventh modernization project to receive TMF funding, bringing the grand total awarded to $90 million of the $100 million appropriated for the fund in fiscal 2018.
NewPay is a cloud-based payroll and personnel system to be used governmentwide as a shared service. GSA announced the program in 2018 and issued a $2.5 billion blanket purchase agreement to a pair of teams providing different solutions: The first team consists of Carahsoft Technology Corporation, Immix Technology and Deloitte Consulting LLP, and will provide Kronos and SAP solutions; and the second team, led by Grant Thornton with The Arcanum Group, Inc. and CGI Federal, will provide services from Infor.
According to the project’s description on the TMF website: “Without this funding, GSA would need to delay establishing the cloud-enabled SaaS solution until a future year when dedicated upfront funding could be secured from the current user base or other sources instead of paying for the investment over a period of years. However, with the support from the TMF the project can be conducted in FY 2019 as a single effort to stand up the initial payroll and [work schedule and leave management] capabilities with current customers, with completion in two years.”
TMF Board Chairwoman and Federal CIO Suzette Kent touted NewPay’s function as a shared service as a reason for its selection.
“As the last proposal accepted in 2018, the Board believes the NewPay proposal is a critical step forward to transform an antiquated technical and operational process,” Kent said. “The TMF was created to invest in modern commercial solutions and drive faster adoption of shared services. We are pleased to support a project that will accelerate the journey to make available modern payroll services for all agencies and drive efficiency across government.”
In a release, OMB says it the TMF Board “continues to accept and evaluate high impact, high return on investment projects from agencies.”
However, the program faces a critical juncture. With this latest award, only $10 million remains to fund any additional rounds of projects.
Meanwhile, Congress hasn’t yet finalized TMF appropriations for fiscal 2019, as the bill that funds the initiative is held up in the ongoing impasse on Capitol Hill centered around securing the U.S.’s southern border.
But even before the political feud that led to a 35-day shutdown, and now a continuing resolution that expires later this week, the TMF was at risk of being zeroed out in 2019.
There is hope though. One of the latest House appropriations bills, which was never passed, would have appropriated $25 million to the TMF.
Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who authored the Modernizing Government Technology Act, which gave life to the TMF, said last year he is confident Congress will fund the program in 2019.
GSA’s NewPay is the largest TMF award yet. The board issued a total of $45 million to modernization projects in June 2018 at the departments of Agriculture, Energy and Housing and Urban Development in its first round of awards. Then, last October, it awarded $23.5 million to projects at the Department of Labor, Department of Agriculture and the General Services Administration.