Customs to turn tech service desk to private contractor

Customs to turn tech service desk to private contractor

The Customs and Border Protection’s IT office is planning to migrate its Technology Service Desk (TSD) operations from a government-owned service to a contractor owned and operated service without any disruption to the agency’s operations and workforce.

The project will be no small transition: The agency’s TSD is the primary point of contact for answering calls, monitoring application systems and tracking all data and communications problems from all agency end users. Meanwhile, the agency’s Enterprise Technology services group handles global support to ensure agency customers have access to agency systems.

The requirements entail worldwide support at more than 1,800 offices and nonagency locations from more than 65,000 agency employees and contractors, according to the request for information. The ET services group handles end-user reported calls for over 200 system applications and, when necessary, moves more complex problems to other internal or external support service providers.

Each month the tech services group responds to an average of 57,000 telephone calls and 5,300 emails seeking support from the desk, according to the RFI.

Manual requests are only a portion of the trouble calls. According to the RFI, “when automated monitoring tools indicate system/application performance degradation or failure, TSD personnel (must) initiate corrective action to reduce or prevent system and application downtime.”

Customs wants the TSD to be staffed 24 hours/day and 365 days/year. That includes service as an initial point of contact for all participating government agencies as well as importers and exporters, world trusted travelers and general public end-users that access CBP applications, according to the RFI.

The agency also requires TSD to meet general industry performance standards as well as Homeland Security and Customs practices. “The overall objective is to obtain under a performance-based arrangement, highly reliable, and secure, ET managed services and support that meets or exceeds customer requirements and expectations,” according to the agency. 

Other steps on the CBP requirements list include providing Tier I and advanced Tier II support for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) in dealing with trade facilitation, trade compliance and trade enforcement.

ACE is the commercial trade processing system developed by CBP to become a “single window” through which international traders electronically provide information needed by federal agencies for importing cargo. 

The agency said it is looking for TSD support services for up to five years and expects to award a firm, fixed price performance based contract to take over the operations.

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