State spins up cloud-based services

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State spins up cloud-based service request platform

After years of trying, the State Department has replaced eServices, its outdated workflow system for requesting and fulfilling services at about 285 overseas posts.

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The department turned to cloud computing company ServiceNow to create myServices, through which diplomats, their family members and other government agencies can request more than 135 services, including IT support. When fully deployed, myServices will support more than 100,000 federal employees and their families at 40 federal agencies and contractors.

MyServices got its start as a pilot project in 2014 in  San Jose, Costa Rica, where it doubled the number of requests that could come in from 250 customers in eight weeks. The global rollout began in February, and since then, myServices has fielded more than 190,000 requests from 20,000 customers. The application is live at 70 posts and on track to be fully deployed by the end of fiscal 2017.

Using an agile development approach, the department has had 22 releases since the pilot test and implemented 140 enhancements.

Melissa Johnson, director of logistics systems at the State Department, led the myServices charge and in the process helped set the department’s accreditation and approval process for cloud-based technologies. She worked with ServiceNow and the General Services Administration to get Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program approval for the solution, a key requirement for deploying myServices.   

The department expects to save about $150 million through fiscal 2018 using myServices, specifically because the cloud-based solution eliminates local servers. Technical support has been centralized to a round-the-clock help desk, data quality and readiness have been improved, and there is greater visibility into the status of requests. Additionally, response time is faster because requests can be reassigned among providers and there are fewer data-entry requirements.

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.

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