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Agencies turn to bots in cornavirus response

Federal agencies are turning to bots to help with response efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. The General Services Administration is one such agency that was able to quickly hand over important work to a bot to automate otherwise manual workflows. The agency's RPA team has developed a national COVID-19 bot to speed up collection of infection count data in counties where it manages federal buildings — one of about 20 new automations across the government tied to the response. Elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security has built about 500 bots in 36 hours to perform coronavirus-related data analysis. And agencies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to the Food and Drug Administration are working with RPA developers like UiPath to supplement teleworkers focused on mission-critical work. Dave Nyczepir has the scoop on RPA.

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Tech goes pro-bono

The tech industry has stepped up amid the COVID-19 outbreak to support government agencies of all sizes with services, licenses and more, free of charge. “This is unprecedented and so the response from the tech sector has been unprecedented,” Nick Sinai, former deputy federal CTO, told FedScoop. “Tech CEOs are stepping up and offering pro-bono products, services, and support — they want to do anything they can to help." FedScoop talked to a number of those companies and pulled together many examples of tech firms, large and small, that are doing their part to aid in the federal response. Jackson Barnett has more on tech firms going pro-bono.

Air Force ramps up internal pen-testing

The Air Force is one of many organizations across government that hasn't let the pandemic interrupt its push for modernization. An example: The service is ramping up its use of ethical hackers to simulate wartime attacks on its IT networks, Lauren Knausenberger, the Air Force's chief transformation officer, told FedScoop. The recent $75 million blanket purchase agreement signed in late February with Dark Wolf is one of the first contracts the Air Force awarded that will let hackers really “go crazy” on a range of Air Force IT, Knausenberger explained. Jackson spoke with Knausenberger.


Using as-a-service platforms to speed app delivery

As federal agencies look to move away from legacy and end-of-life applications, CIO’s can be overwhelmed with the challenge. Boomi’s Alan Lawrence says the average civilian agency has over 100 legacy IT applications. The job of moving, modernizing or rationalizing the application stack — and transitioning agency resources to modern environments — can happen more quickly with as-a-service platforms. Watch the interview.

EIS work continues during crisis

While the General Services Administration isn't yet pushing back deadlines under the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, some vendors on the contract believe that the ongoing coronavirus response might bring delays to awards. FedScoop spoke to several primes on the EIS contract about the current state of the vehicle, how the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting it and what they're doing to continue critical work to modernize federal telecom infrastructure. Dave has the latest on EIS.

WATCH: The real deal behind IT modernization

FedScoop recently hosted its fourth annual IT Modernization Summit. At the conference, we spoke with top federal IT officials and leaders from industry about the latest in federal IT modernization and what exactly modernization means to them. Today, we're releasing videos from:

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