Education FSA CIO: COVID-19 was an IT accelerant

“Amid the widespread misery and dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the few bright spots has been on the Federal technology front, where the imperative to adopt a range of remote processes including widespread telework has helped push Federal agency operations farther into the future.

That was the message from Federal CIOs today at General Dynamics Information Technology’s Emerge 2021 conference focused on digital modernization.  Those pandemic-driven changes, the CIOs said, appear to be sticking…”

“At the Department of Education, the Enterprise Technology Directorate Federal Student Aid (FSA) office has been using a virtual assistant named AIDAN to use AI in order to lessen burdens on agency call centers, and enable students and lenders to get information quickly.

‘I’d like to highlight that COVID certainly was an accelerant,’ Mia Jordan, CIO of the FSA Enterprise Technology Directorate, said during the panel discussion. ‘What it allowed us to do was to really, I think, become on par with what’s happening in private industry. … [AIDAN] took a significant burden off of our call centers which is key, but it also just really transformed again how the business was able to quickly adapt.’

Jordan said AIDAN, and other AI and robotic process automation (RPA) projects her office is working on, focus not only on public-facing entities and customer support, which she identified as important, but also to help support back-of-office staff. She pointed to uses in both the acquisition process and on the financial side, keeping track of transactions and staying on top of budget requests…”

“‘It really does help change the discussion that now you know your investment in the cloud and your journey to the cloud from an executive perspective is about how you keep your business running,’ she added. ‘It’s not about an application rationalization … it is about the business, right, … and the flexibility of your business.’…” Read the full article here.

Source: Feds: COVID-19 Pandemic Pushed Agencies ‘Years’ into the Future – By Lamar Johnson, April 6, 2021. MeriTalk.

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