DIG IT AWARD FINALIST: CLOUD & INFRASTRUCTURE
A government cloud solution at Silicon Valley speed
- By Amanda Ziadeh
- Sep 22, 2016
Nothing motivates like a deadline.
Even though the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was signed into law in July 2014, the technical and business requirements were not spelled out until May 2016. That left the Labor Department with barely one month to deliver working technology to support the program.
Rather than simply modify existing systems, the Employment and Training Administration developed a cloud-based platform that integrates systems for tracking performance and managing the financial aspects of grants: the Workforce Integrated Performance System.
Before WIPS, there were gaps in the data reported by grantees about the performance of their employment programs, and the data’s accuracy was difficult to verify. WIPS standardizes the reporting of data, identifies errors, and helps stakeholders make data-driven decisions and find ways to improve job-seeking services.
WIPS integrates a cloud-based business process management service from Appian that complies with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. It has managed components in Amazon Web Services, such as storage, a data warehouse and user-authentication tools. The solution allows users to submit legally mandated quarterly reports containing raw program and performance data for every participant that a particular grantee supports. WIPS validates the data and aggregates it for quarterly reports.
According to Peter Le, who runs ETA's Enterprise Solutions Services Division, the initial release was done in about 70 calendar days, the Labor Department’s fastest IT development timeline for such a complex system. Besides avoiding the costs of a new data center, the cloud-based solution lets ETA address utilization spikes with on-demand access to computing power and storage and managed shared services.
WIPS came together so quickly not just because of the technology (or the looming deadline), but because it was built using agile development and a modular framework that can address the requirements of the various program offices.
Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.