The Office of Management and Budget quietly redesignated the Office of Personnel Management the quality services management office for civilian human resources transactions March 30, after finding the agency better suited to stand up a modern IT solutions marketplace that includes commercial offerings.
The Trump administration originally designated the General Services Administration the HR quality services management office (QSMO) as it attempted to abolish OPM, but now the latter is heading up governmentwide HR shared services from enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms to point solutions.
The QSMO program was created in April 2019 to reform how the government works with shared services. Though the program, single agencies were designated as leaders in the provision of specific services to other government agencies and programs.
“Every agency feels like they need to have the features of a Lexus SUV, but they have the budget for a Toyata hatchback,” said Steve Krauss, interim director for the civilian HR transaction services QSMO, during ACT-IAC’s Shared Services Summit on Thursday. “They feel like they are falling farther behind as time goes on, and the reality is the only way to square that circle is through some sort of ride-sharing arrangement.”
The QSMO is focused on hiring assessment and data analytics solutions to start, the former to help agencies comply with the July 2020 executive order to modernize and reform federal hiring. Commercial hiring assessment solutions exist, as does OPM’s USA Hire based on a commercial solution contract.
On the data analytics front OPM may stand up a Human Capital Data Analytics Community of Practice across agencies with private sector participants.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency‘s QSMO has already made two major shared services awards for a vulnerability disclosure platform service, which received its authority to operate (ATO) three weeks ago, and a protective DNS resolver service that received its ATO on Wednesday.
CISA is currently engaging with agencies and industry on how best to incorporate commercial solutions into its QSMO marketplace.
“We’re going to be turning a lot of focus to, for example, how can we partner with GSA on governmentwide vehicles,” said Branch Chief Jim Sheire. “How do we bring more commercial providers into the QSMO marketplace to provide those services to agencies?”
CISA has a request for information (RFI) out now looking at security operation services and how to implement them in a zero-trust context, in response to larger agencies with security operations centers seeking a “cereal aisle” of offerings, Sheire said.
The agency also released technical reference and architecture guidance on its Secure Cloud Business Applications (SCuBA) project a few weeks ago for public comment.
Meanwhile the newest QSMO, the grants QSMO within the Department of Health and Human Services, has engaged with all but two “very small” awarding agencies out of 49, said Executive Director Chad Clifford.
The QSMO closed an RFI in late March inquiring about commercial grants management solutions and services, data implementation, customer experience and potential acquisition strategies, and the responses are currently being evaluated by an interagency group of reviewers.
“How can we expand this marketplace by next year to bring on commercial providers, and where should we focus first?” Clifford said. “We know what the agencies need, but how can we do that now while maturing over time?”
The financial management QSMO within the Treasury Department‘s Bureau of the Fiscal Service just reached an agreement with GSA on a contract acquisition approach to populate its marketplace with commercial offerings, a special item number under the Multiple Award Schedule vehicle. Tech companies will be able to apply to participate in the QSMO marketplace starting in mid-May, said Reed Waller, financial systems advisor for the QSMO.
At the same time the QSMO is working to identify the best IT system candidates for modernization.
“We’ve collected an inventory of financial systems that I don’t think has ever existed before,” Waller said.