State ready to test overseas system

State ready to test overseas system

The State Department is negotiating a contract with Accenture LLP of Chicago to implement the pilot phase of the Overseas Presence Interagency Collaboration project.

Accenture beat out Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego and SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va., both of which also created prototypes of the OPIC knowledge management system for testing by the department.

The pilot is set to begin by early May and continue through Sept. 30. Over the next two months, State and Accenture will expand the infrastructure of the Accenture prototype system.

The department has said the most difficult part of implementing the knowledge management project will be breaking down the stovepipe hierarchies that prevent government personnel from working together across agency and organizational boundaries.

According to State planning documents, the pilot will test the collaborative knowledge management system with about 2,400 employees in Washington and at posts in India and Mexico.

When the pilot begins, State will form what it calls 'communities of practice' in administration, crisis management and policy, focusing on areas such as AIDS, biotechnology and trade.

A key part of the system will be the Interagency Collaboration Zone, for which Accenture will provide software and supporting hardware. The company also will train users and provide support workers in Mexico, India and Washington to help State officials use the new tools.

The program has received $17 million in funding. In its fiscal 2003 budget proposal, the Bush administration earmarked $14.5 million to continue OPIC for a year beyond the pilot.

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