Department IT Strategic Goals and Objectives
Goal 1: Deliver Advanced Capabilities to Foster Collaboration, Knowledge Management, and Analytics
Technological advances in today’s digital IT environment offer an almost borderless arena for collaboration, knowledge management, data analysis, and innovation. Capabilities are developing at an exponential rate to capture, manage, analyze, and retrieve vast amounts of information in order to build relationships, engage with broader constituencies, foster openness, and achieve transparency. Technology and innovation are invaluable tools for engaging our foreign partners, and will continue to connect people to the knowledge and information they need when they need it in support of foreign policy and operations.
We will continue to broaden access to institutional knowledge and expand collaborative tools to enhance problem-solving throughout the Department. In addition, we will work to achieve the vision that information we are producing should become part of comprehensive, shared, secure, and easily accessible knowledge system. Armed with IT tools, our employees will be better prepared to communicate and collaborate in real-time. Through these efforts, we will build and sustain interpersonal connections and workplace relationships in a technology-driven era.
INNOVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
The School of Applied Information Technology (SAIT) at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) established the Innovation Sandbox in 2016 to explore the nexus between technology and diplomacy with the ultimate goal of fostering more effective diplomacy through better uses of IT. The Sandbox will promote both procedural and programmatic innovation in the use of IT in the conduct of American diplomacy by gathering best practices from industry leaders and researchers in academia about new and emerging technologies, and lessons learned from diplomats about their experiences in the conduct of diplomacy and the ways in which existing IT applications have facilitated or impeded the execution of their work overseas.
Objective 1.1 (Collaboration)
Enhance collaboration across the Department through digital solutions to inform and engage internal and external audiences.
More than ever, our work depends on tools and methods that allow us to share and develop information across the enterprise, with external partners, and the public. Our experience shows us that new uses of interactive technologies have the capacity to expand and strengthen relationships. We continue to make progress engaging the expanding population that lives online, through social media and the increased use of mobile audio and video conferencing technologies. Today’s collaborative tools deliver tailored content and messaging that is available and accessible to Department employees, and shareable to members of the public and foreign audiences.
Within the Department, we must create ways for employees to exchange ideas, information, and questions by employing tools to allow our professionals to seek answers from their peers, strengthen connections between colleagues, and transfer knowledge. Implementation of an enterprise-wide social network aimed at increasing collaboration and connecting the Department’s many subject matter experts will enable us to preserve and share information.
Objective 1.2 (Knowledge Management)
Ensure the availability of and access to information that enables customers to make timely, informed decisions by strengthening data and knowledge management approaches.
Knowledge management represents a systematic approach to capturing, organizing, and retrieving information to support the Department’s activities and enhance decision-making. It involves the processes for creating, storing, sharing, and integrating data to increase the flow of information between offices, bureaus, and posts. Engaging experts from across the Department will improve records management practices, streamline the information lifecycle, and capitalize on existing systems and platforms, such as internal wikis, geographic information systems, and new and emerging enterprise software. Knowledge management will be enriched by data sharing between internal systems in order to index and analyze data and by providing open data sets for the public. We will improve knowledge discoverability, and will further develop knowledge management tools, training, and methodologies.
The Department produces and stores vast amounts of knowledge and data every day. Managing these elements requires centralized knowledge repositories and standard data elements to reduce duplication, facilitate sharing, improve accessibility, and automate workflows among bureaus and offices. Not only will these repositories serve as a portal to shared knowledge, they will expedite our ability to reduce the number of paper-based processes and records. Improving knowledge management will increase our capacity to enable faster retrieval and more accurate results. Coupled with evolving knowledge management tools, we will facilitate for our users better insight and a heightened understanding of the vast quantities of knowledge and information available to them.
Objective 1.3 (Data Integration and Analytics)
Promote an enterprise approach to information sharing that fosters decision-making through the use of analytic technology.
Harnessing the power of voluminous and complex datasets (big data) can offer more meaningful insights required for informed decisions, problem-solving, and risk analysis. While aggregate data is important, distilling datasets into actionable intelligence through innovative analytics and business intelligence support rapid decision-making and improve operational efficiencies.
Expanding the use of research and analytic tools will provide Department decision-makers more complete and accurate reporting that can be used to align bureau core functions, develop policy priorities, and identify emerging trends and future demands. Through advanced data integration and analytics, we will make it easier for decision-makers and employees to find data. Our efforts to foster information sharing will require execution of a broad array of data disciplines, including data warehousing, data integration, data quality, and analytics. This will advance the integration of standard and non-standard data, and support the Department’s strategic data and technology objectives in the QDDR.
Define and implement standard policies, procedures, formats, and tools for managing all permanent electronic records electronically by December 2019.
Adopt new information technologies to improve business and IT operations.
Increase number of datasets registered in the enterprise data catalog to reduce data redundancies.
Apply data policies and associated standards from the Master Reference Data platform to support data integrity.
Establish a research and development (R&D) function and customer requirements office for IT solutions.
- Increase the use of data analytics tools to inform policy and business decisions.
Goal 2: Provide a Robust and Secure IT Infrastructure that Supports On-Demand Access to Information
Department of State diplomats and the global workforce that supports them depend on a modernized, secure, and scalable IT infrastructure to accomplish their mission. Hardware, software, network connectivity, and cybersecurity protections must support the seamless operation of digital tools and a diverse suite of applications. The IT infrastructure must be secure, resilient, and meet worldwide conditions for on-demand access, including increased mobility through wireless connectivity on an array of devices. In addition, modernization efforts enable us to adopt new energy efficient technologies and practices to promote sustainability. Cloud computing initiatives allow us to achieve our goals for increased collaboration, sharing, productivity, mobility, and security. Ongoing investments in cloud-based programs and services enhance the Department’s IT infrastructure lifecycle and allow for rapid scalability.
One of our top priorities is protecting our information and IT assets against increasing cyber threats and vulnerabilities. We depend on network and information systems for essential operations and data security. Any failure or disruption of services resulting from a cyber-attack may have adverse consequences for the Department. To address these threats, the Department is investing resources into cyber defense capabilities to mitigate risks and strengthen our cybersecurity posture.
WE’VE GOT AN APP FOR THAT
The Department is committed to pursuing Cloud First initiatives. By following standards set forth by the Department’s Cloud Policy and the Cloud Computing Governance Board (CCGB), bureaus have the opportunity to develop approved cloud products and services to enhance productivity and mobility, securely. For example, the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) and International Organizational Affairs (IO) Application Development Group (ADG) is a collaboration initiative to standardize application development and use at EUR and IO posts. The ADG board guides the development of applications and solutions in the cloud for the benefit of multiple EUR-IO posts. The ADG governance board ensures regional applications meet policy, security, and information assurance requirements before deployment.
Objective 2.1 (Modernized IT Infrastructure)
Deploy a modernized IT infrastructure that enables seamless access to information resources.
The modernization of our systems, networks, and platforms is imperative to protect business-critical applications and data. The Department must adapt the network architecture to counteract increasingly sophisticated threats by isolating and segmenting critical business data and IT assets to protect sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII). Domestic and overseas virtualization, in addition to hardware and software refresh efforts, will create more secure, flexible server and desktop environments. Virtual capabilities also support data replication to off-site locations, including Department data centers for quicker backups and reliable continuity of operations.
Developing a modernized and secure IT infrastructure that harnesses new information delivery models will enhance the Department’s voice, network, data, radio, and video capabilities, providing secure platforms for Department communications and emergency life-safety and command and control situations. Our continued commitment to green and sustainable computing strengthens the Department’s environmental stewardship and reduces its environmental footprint. By optimizing data centers, adopting energy efficient technologies, leveraging enterprise licensing, maximizing the use of shared services and acquisition vehicles for IT purchases, and executing strategic sourcing initiatives, we will lower IT operational costs and energy consumption.
Objective 2.2 (Cybersecurity)
Protect the integrity of the Department’s information and IT assets by strengthening our cybersecurity posture.
The Department is under constant assault from threat actors seeking to steal sensitive information regarding high-profile diplomacy matters such as trade, economics, politics, and national policy. Our cybersecurity strategy outlines an approach to securing our perimeter and preventing intrusions through a holistic cybersecurity program led by the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The strategy implements leading practices for comprehensive cybersecurity from the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Risk Management Framework and cybersecurity best practices, and reflects practices outlined by the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA).
In partnership with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) will collaborate with Department stakeholders, technical experts, and federal partners to detect, identify, respond to, and recover from the impact of known and potential threats, evaluate the effectiveness of countermeasures, and address remaining residual risks. Through rigorous assessment methods and programs such as the federal Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program, we will continue to mature our cybersecurity program to safeguard our infrastructure, networks, and applications against cyber threats and malicious activity.
In order to effectively carry out a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, we will partner with federal agencies and industry leaders to leverage best practices to train our IT workforce. We recognize that the first line of defense in maintaining the security and integrity of the Department’s networks is the ongoing education of employees about their role in identifying and preventing malicious activity. The Department will also focus on recruiting and training talent with cybersecurity expertise. Additionally, we will control user access to resources by assigning associated user rights and restrictions using the least privileges principle to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of Department communications and data.
Objective 2.3 (Cloud Computing)
Drive centralized and streamlined cloud adoption to meet the business needs of the Department.
Cloud computing technologies offer the Department a platform for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. Cloud resources can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort or service provider interaction, and offer reliable, flexible, scalable access to secure cloud portfolio services. These new IT solutions will provide access to real-time collaboration tools and enable increased productivity and mobility. Simultaneously, we will enhance the Department’s private cloud to address internal business requirements.
The Department’s Cloud Computing Governance Board (CCGB) streamlines cloud adoption and institutes a single authority for cloud evaluations based on business needs, security risks, and efficiencies. The CCGB strives to achieve the right balance between security, agility, and transparency. The planned activities of the CCGB to mature the private and hybrid cloud environments bring the Department closer to industry standards.
Objective 2.4 (Mobility)
Improve secure mobile and remote access to appropriate Department resources.
Mobility is a top priority for the Department, as much of our relationship building and mission execution takes place outside the walls of our physical Department facilities. Our approach to enterprise mobility reflects our understanding of the people, processes, and technology required to effectively and securely manage mobile devices, their associated wireless networks, and mobile computing services and applications.
As the demand for mobile access grows, the Department will expand the number of platforms and devices supported. Through enterprise-based offerings, we will protect and secure all mobile data. Centralized configuration management and security services will continue to enhance remote access options and the user’s experience. As our Department- and bureau-wide governance policies, processes, and standards for mobile application development evolve, we will enable bureaus and overseas posts to build functional applications that support the local or global mission within a secure framework.
Invest in core IT infrastructure at overseas posts by completing 200 Enterprise Converged Platform (ECP) installations.
Increase development, modernization, and enhancement (DME) spending by 15 percent.
Increase virtualization in data center modernization and optimization projects.
Update the enterprise architecture and segregate high value IT assets.
Complete installation of continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) software to enhance end-point protection.
Develop enterprise-wide identity management system (IDMS) to materially enhance the cybersecurity and utility of the Department’s systems and applications across networks and databases.
Enhance and mature the Department’s cybersecurity risk management initiatives.
Mature the Cloud Computing Governance Board (CCGB).
Establish standardized cloud computing contract guidance and templates.
Increase IT investments that evaluate the use of cloud computing by 30 percent.
Increase the adoption of cloud computing services by 15 percent.
Increase number of employees with a mobile device by 30 percent.
Goal 3: Advance Business Management Practices to Transform Service Delivery
The Department is committed to delivering world class IT customer services through effective business management processes and procedures and a high-caliber IT workforce. The ongoing implementation of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) will strengthen Department enterprise governance processes, and will increase the efficiency, consistency, and transparency of our business operations. We will improve the performance and security of our IT business systems through integration and modernization, and will identify enterprise solutions to reduce redundancies in core business platforms.
Through user-driven models and best practices we will deliver world-class customer- and user-friendly services and products. We will enhance our business service offering and capabilities through collaborative and cooperative partnerships within the Department. In doing so, we will transform our business model to adapt to evolving requirements in IT management and service delivery. We will capitalize on best practices that are proven, repeatable, and measurable to sustain the efficient management of our business systems and enterprise services in order to reduce redundancies in platforms and systems, automate workflows, and improve core governance and business functions.
CONSULAR ONE: REDEFINING SERVICE
ConsularOne is Consular Affairs’ (CA) modernization initiative. ConsularOne will modernize, consolidate, and/or replace functionality currently delivered by more than 90 discrete systems. It will provide CA employees easier access to data through a single interface, greatly reducing the need to log into separate systems to obtain data. ConsularOne will also provide CA with the opportunity to take an in-depth look at existing business processes, with the goal of improving efficiency, security, and consistency across consular services.
Objective 3.1 (IT Policy and Governance)
Establish and employ streamlined policy and governance processes that align IT solutions with customer expectations and mission requirements.
Through holistic policy and governance, we align the Department’s IT strategy with its business strategy to ensure our investments deliver value for the Department. Improving the management of IT activities and enabling the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to exercise proper oversight of IT programs and acquisitions, as defined by the successful implementation of FITARA, requires established processes, milestones, and review gates for capital planning, project management, and reporting for IT resources. The result will be quality service delivery, cost control of these services, and increased visibility and transparency across the Department.
The Department has a strong governance framework that meets legislative and Federal mandates through its Electronic-Government (E-Gov) management of major investments, which supports FITARA objectives in areas such as reviewing plans, execution, acquisition management, human resources management, and expenditures as part of the Department’s Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) program. Through the E-Gov boards, the CIO works in partnership with the Bureau of Budget and Planning (BP), the Comptroller, Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) and other stakeholders, to establish policies and procedures that ensure the accountability that IT assets are designed, developed, and maintained effectively. The Department’s E-Gov board structure, combined with the implementation of FITARA, will ensure IT resources are allocated in accordance with our IT strategic direction and evolving priorities.
Objective 3.2 (IT Human Capital Management)
Build, develop, and retain a talented, diverse IT workforce.
Critical to the success of our business management approach is a workforce-planning model that attracts, engages, and retains a highly skilled IT workforce. The Department faces the constant challenge to recruit and retain high-caliber IT professionals whose skills reflect current technology. To address this challenge, the Department will continue to seek the best-qualified candidates, to promote career goals across the IT workforce, to offer skills incentive pay, and to provide appropriate training to nurture the talent required to deliver tomorrow’s technology.
Effective human capital planning identifies essential and specific core competencies. In support of our human capital goals, the Department is creating a centralized IT workforce database to assess staffing needs and future trends for IT positions. The database will be a comprehensive effort that accounts for enterprise-wide, regional, and mission requirements. The Department will continue to implement competency-based workforce recruiting, and will develop strategies to maintain a pipeline of diverse and highly qualified IT candidates for both domestic and overseas staffing.
Building and sustaining a workforce with a relevant IT skillset to meet the needs of our customers requires an investment in ongoing training. The Department will expand its training programs to give experienced workers the opportunities to learn new skills, while reaching out to a new generation of workers with training and educational opportunities that pave the way to a fulfilling career at the Department.
Objective 3.3 (IT Service Delivery)
Improve end-to-end transparency and accountability between the customer and service provider.
Our customers expect an engaging, user-friendly online experience. Providing quality customer service and exceptional service delivery is crucial to accomplishing our mission. The Department will continue to implement customer-centric and service-management approaches to smarter IT delivery. This will result in cost-effective enterprise solutions that reduce costs, streamline development, and provide employees access to information and information services.
Paramount to good service delivery is customer service. We will continue to nurture relationships and foster communications between customers and providers that improve awareness about IT services, requirements, capabilities, and service levels. This includes increasing customer access to information through catalogs, searches, and forms via mobile and desktop platforms. In doing so, we will continue to raise the bar on customer service satisfaction both in-person and online.
Objective 3.4 (IT Business Systems)
Ensure efficient and effective performance of core business functions and enterprise services.
The Department’s next generation of modern core business and management systems will deliver more accurate, complete, and integrated information for analysis and decision-making. Modernized IT business systems will address management information requirements to reduce redundancies, enhance workflows, and improve business functions. Well-designed and well-developed system interfaces will enable reliable connections between systems and improve interoperability. Additionally, in serving our employees and an aging public that includes more individuals with disabilities, it is imperative that the Department provide equal access to information and data. The Department is committed to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act that requires all website content be accessible to people with disabilities. Our Section 508 Program ensures that Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) is usable and accessible in order to meet our customers’ needs. By focusing on IT standards and including accessibility requirements in our IT systems requirements, IT management decisions, and our mission, we ensure that the needs of all end-users are properly considered.
The evolving IT environment is redefining how applications are designed and delivered. Enterprise applications continue to optimize digital content and messaging for accessible platform-agnostic delivery to key audiences. Enterprise capabilities, such as a shared pre-production environment, will improve collaboration and communication between Department stakeholders and developers during application creation and deployment. It will also reduce the time, and streamline resources required, to complete application lifecycle.
Improve integration of various governance bodies across the Department.
Refine the Department’s Capital Planning and Investment Control (CPIC) Pre-Select implementation process.
Develop a baseline IT Workforce Database to assess staffing needs, current statistics, and future trends for IT positions.
Identify Foreign Service (FS) competencies that need to be addressed in new training requirements. Suggest new training requirements for IT professionals as appropriate.
Increase percentage of employees who enroll in IT training opportunities.
Increase IT project managers with the Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) by 15 percent.
Improve customer service satisfaction rating based on quality of service survey.
Increase software development projects using Agile by 25 percent.
Implement a centralized, automated enterprise service management solution to manage requests for services and increase transparency.
Enhance workforce skills to support an environment where Section 508 accessibility requirements are understood, communicated, implemented, and enforced across the enterprise.