IRS to create unified information systems division

IRS to create unified information systems division

The IRS is 'taking major pockets of information systems that were decentralized before and bringing them together into one service,' CIO Paul Cosgrave says.

Employee frustrations over scattered support and services prompt change in organizational structure

By Shruti Date'

GCN Staff

The IRS plans to centralize its information technology resources under one umbrella organization this month to improve support and services, officials said.

Technicians in the new organization will consolidate resources and report to IRS chief information officer Paul Cosgrave, who will be supported by 10 division information officers (DIOs) serving the IRS' business units.

'The new organization really stems from today's organization,' Cosgrave said. 'We are taking major pockets of information systems that were decentralized before and bringing them together into one service.'

Getting even

The IT division, with an annual budget of $1.5 billion, will have jurisdiction over IT personnel in 10 service centers, four regional centers and IRS functional offices. The information systems chiefs assisted the national organization in the transition.

'The decentralized nature of the information systems organization has created uneven information systems support and services throughout the IRS,' the agency said in its modernization blueprint. 'To resolve the concerns and frustrations of IRS employees, the information systems organization is improving its organizational structure.'

Functional information systems offices such as the Office of the Chief Counsel and Office of the National Director of Appeals separated from the main information systems office years ago 'because their business units were not getting the services they needed,' Cosgrave said. 'They have become large units now, with single unit chiefs, that can be moved into the new organization.' The counsel's office, for instance, employs about 100 IT staff members.

The biggest change under the reorganization will be the addition of the DIOs, Cosgrave said. DIOs will be on the staff of the business units to which they are attached.

'If a DIO is working with the wage and investment unit, they must understand what servicing the wage and investment people is about,' Cosgrave said. 'On a flowchart there will be a solid line from the DIO to me, but there will also be a dotted line from the DIO to the business unit.

'DIOs, however, will not simply play liaisons. They will be involved in doing some development work within the business unit,' he said.

The DIOs also will help the information systems organization implement its new shared-services operating model over the next four years, Cosgrave said.

The IRS blueprint for the new organization states that 'the information systems organization will move to a shared-service operating model in which operating divisions determine their demand for information systems services based on their overall operating strategy, and information systems, through negotiation, supplies the necessary resources to meet this demand.'

In the past, the information systems office might have refused a business unit's request for a new IT function because it lacked the time or resources. That unit would then turn to a different IRS office with its request.

'It would get done, but did not get done with the right focus on security, et cetera,' Cosgrave said. 'Under the new structure, the DIO will only have one answer, 'Yes, we can do it.' '


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