General Services Administration

FBO/ESRS/FSRS Modernization

The Problem:

GSA’s Integrated Award Environment (IAE) is a response to a Presidential initiative to adopt all forms of innovation to improve systems used by stakeholders seeking to work with or receive financial assistance (i.e., grants, loans, contracts) from the Federal Government. The IAE-managed systems include CFDA, PPIRS, CPARS, WDOL, FBO, SAM, FPDS, FSRS, ESRS, and FAPIIS. Collectively, these systems have nearly 2 million registered users and manage almost $4 trillion in annual federal awards. These ten systems were developed independently of one another, and therefore use different and often outdated technologies, duplicate common functionalities, and have inconsistent designs. The result has been inflated maintenance costs and an inconsistent user experience across GSA’s IAE properties, which reduces user satisfaction with and the ability to do efficient business with GSA.

The Solution:

In 2021, Octo began to remedy these issues by combining systems into a single system now known as beta.sam.gov. Octo encouraged GSA to adopt a new way of looking at how they developed systems and subsequently, GSA adopted the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) and DevSecOps methods. Octo then layered in Human Centered Design (HCD) principles to more effectively address the user experience for all stakeholders. The new system, beta.sam.gov, uses a consistent information architecture, the latest open source technology stack, and a cloud-based modern microservice architecture to provide users a single system to access a single user account to accomplish their business with their government.

Results

Octo has done the following to enable GSA to meet the demand of the Presidential initiative:

  • Enabled GSA to modernize its siloed, complex, redundant legacy systems into a single, secure, cloud-based system with a consistent user experience.
  • Enabled multiple vendors and development teams to stay on track to deliver features, applications, and systems as planned by using SAFe methodologies.
  • 100% security and accessibility built into all applications using DevSecOps methods.
  • Assisted with the modernization of two of the ten IAE-managed systems in the last year.
  • Used HCD to streamline the user experience leading to a 12% reduction in helpdesk tickets.

The Benefits

The combination of these methodologies inherently put the user at the core of development efforts and allowed GSA to address changing user and business needs without massive disruptions to overall development velocity. Users have seen a vast reduction in the need for redundant user accounts, and helpdesk tickets have been reduced.