Reemployment Assistance Modernization 2022

Reemployment Assistance Modernization September 2022

Feb 16, 2023
  • The Cloud Migration project includes transitioning the System from operating on hardware stored on-premise to a cloud-based environment to ensure all aspects of the System are available to users during periods of high demand for continuous claims processing, including both web-based and call center services.
    • The Department is migrating various components of the System into a cloud-hosted environment, including files, databases, applications, and environment infrastructure. The updates shown below are as of this reporting period:
      • File migration: Completed in May 2022
      • Database migration: Completed in May 2022
      • Application migration: Migration activities are ongoing. The Department performed final review of a purchase requisition for a vendor to establish an isolated environment in the cloud to host data governed by IRS Publication 1075.
      • Environment Infrastructure migration:
        • Test environment: The Department previously reported that test environment migration activities were completed in May 2022. Following feedback and guidance from the IRS, the Department is working to develop an isolated environment in a cloud-hosted environment that complies with IRS Publication 1075.
        • Pre-production environment: Following feedback and guidance from the IRS, the Department is working to develop an isolated environment in a cloud-hosted environment that complies with IRS Publication 1075. These efforts will close-out the migration of the last component.
        • Production environment: Anticipated to be completed in December 2022.
      • The Department is conducting User Acceptance Testing for its FileNet application upgrade from version 5.2 to version 5.5.7, which is anticipated to be complete in October 2022. This is the final step before implementing the upgrade. The FileNet application is used by the Department to manage workflows in the System that ensure files that are provided by claimants, employers, and Third-Party Administrators are merged with the correct claim.
      • The Digital Appeals Recording Solution (DARS) vendor has begun application development to deploy this technology in a cloud-hosted environment. Development work is anticipated to continue through December 2022. DARS enables the Department to record appeals hearings, which provides due process to employers, third-party administrators, and claimants who have filed an appeal on a Reemployment Assistance claim.
      • The Department upgraded its FileNet application from version 5.2 to version 5.5.7. The FileNet application is used by the Department to manage workflows in the System that ensure files that are provided by claimants, employers, and Third-Party Administrators are merged with the correct claim. Testing of this application is ongoing.
      • The Visual Interactive Voice Response, ChatBot, and WebChat technology vendor has begun developing business and technology requirements that will be used to enhance the Department’s existing Customer Call Center technology and provide additional self-service options for Reemployment Assistance claimants.
    • The Cloud Application Performance Management project includes utilizing a software tool that provides visibility into key System performance indicators, such as numbers of concurrent users, for System monitoring. The tool also allows the Department to set defined thresholds for performance and receive notification if remedial actions are needed to maintain System performance and prevent System downtime.
      • Application migration: Migration activities are ongoing. The Department performed final review of a purchase requisition for a vendor to establish an isolated environment in the cloud to host data governed by IRS Publication 1075.
    • The SDLC DevOps project includes improving documentation for the System, including application design documentation, artifacts, and dataflow diagrams. This helps establish a process that sets a standard for maintaining System documentation and planning the deployment of System enhancements that align and prioritize Reemployment Assistance program requirements with the System’s functionality.
      • The Department continues to work with the ServiceNow vendor to integrate this software with the new DevOps environment. ServiceNow will serve as a repository for System requirements. Integration of these software tools will sync the System’s testing environment and cross-reference requirements with test results. It will also develop an audit trail that can be used to reference changes made to the System over time. The Department anticipates the development work to support this integration will be complete in October 2022.
        • The Department anticipates executing a contract extension for two project changes that include the automation of test reports that verify business requirements are met following each System enhancement, as well as additional contracted resources to implement these automated reports. These enhancements are included in the scope change that extends the project timeline to allow for the expanded project scope. These changes will eliminate a currently manual process and increase subject matter experts’ efficiency with testing System enhancements.
    • The .NET and ORM Upgrade project is designed to ensure the Department’s .NET framework and Object Relational Mapping (ORM) software receive security fixes, updates, and technical support that align with industry standards. The .NET framework is a platform that is used to create and run software applications. ORM software promotes more efficient System development by translating low-level coding across tables that store data.
      • The Reemployment Claims and Benefits Information System application’s ORM software is being updated from version 3.5 to version 5.8. The Department continues to test the updated LLBLGEN layer, which connects the database and the System, which includes testing 66 applications that support data transactions. Full deployment of all applications is forecasted to be complete in October 2022.
      • In a previous reporting period, the Department prematurely reported that the System’s .NET framework upgrade was complete. The upgrade was complete in September 2022.
    • The Rules Engine project includes utilizing a software tool that serves as a separate infrastructure environment for managing and executing business rules that govern how Reemployment Assistance claims are processed. Business rules that are currently operating within the System will be moved to the rules engine. By using a rules engine to manage and operate business rules, specifically those rules that are updated periodically to accommodate changes in state or federal law, the Department gains staff efficiency and helps support System performance. A rules engine is more user-friendly and does not require System code changes, which means information technology staff can be repurposed for larger, more complex System enhancements and business rule changes can be deployed faster. Additionally, because the rules engine operates in a separate infrastructure environment, it allows for increased System performance.  
      • The Department and its System and Software Integration vendor are collaborating to develop a scope of work for a business rules engine, including services required by a prospective vendor to ensure interoperability.
      • The Department is evaluating the list of previously identified business rules that were originally identified to be migrated to and deployed in the business rules engine during the Modernization Program timeline to ensure the identified rules are suitable for a rules engine and to ensure adequate resources are available to support the implementation of the CX/UX project.
    • The SOA and API Layer project will help promote a more efficient System by creating a layer between various components of the System that serves as the messenger for all data exchanges. This layer helps prevent a downturn in System performance by offloading demand on the System.
      • The Department is working with its System and Software Integration vendor to review and refine a draft scope of work for an integration platform that will support the implementation of this project.
      • The Department is analyzing the project schedule and scope to ensure the front-end CX/UX solution is supported by and integrated with the integration platform. A scope change is anticipated in the next reporting period to align the project with the iSF Report and ensure adequate support is available to integrate the integration platform with the System.
    • The Reemployment Assistance Help Center project created a front-end website that serves as a one-stop shop for System users to get answers to frequently asked questions, view information about their claim, submit inquiries to the Department for assistance, and submit information to the Department that facilitate claims processing.
      • This project was completed in December 2021 and will undergo additional enhancements through continuous modernization efforts to improve internal workflows that ensure users’ claims are processed timely.
    • The Strategic Planning Office (SPO) project equips the Department with standards, governance, and project management services for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program, and oversees the Program’s scope, schedule, and budget to promote accountability and alignment with Department priorities.
      • The SPO continues to provide overall Program and project management support. 
      • The SPO added a second Project Manager to support the Cloud Migration project, who will focus on migrating the DARS application to the cloud and enhancing the Visual Interactive Voice Response, ChatBot, and WebChat technologies utilized by the Reemployment Assistance Customer Call Center.
    • The Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) project includes leveraging an independent third-party consultant to provide objective and proactive risk identification and assessment to the Department. Observations and risks identified by the consultant are used by the Department to implement the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program and any necessary mitigating strategies.
      • IV&V continues to attend various Department meetings to support Program and project oversight. 
    • The System and Software Integration project includes leveraging the expertise of a third-party services provider with experience in strategic planning, System design, System development, and System integration for large multi-component system modernization efforts to ensure the Department’s various modernization projects work as intended to deliver an enhanced user experience.
      • The System and Software Integration vendor continues to work with Department staff to develop and refine draft scopes of work for various projects. In this reporting period, the vendor is drafting draft scopes of work for the Master Data Management and Interoperability project and the CX/UX project. 
      • The System and Software Integration vendor developed software recommendation options this reporting period for the fourth and final project specified in their contract this reporting period. The Department is reviewing these recommendations and is awaiting receipt of architectural standards before accepting the technology recommendations deliverables.
    • The Business Process Optimization project focuses on identifying, cataloging, and reengineering business processes and requirements that are necessary to improve the user experience. These reengineered processes and requirements will support a more efficient claims process for both internal and external System users.
      • The Department has received all deliverables and is reviewing the final deliverable. This project is anticipated to be closed-out in the next reporting period.
    • The Incremental CX/UX Mobile Responsive Software Transformation project includes optimizing the existing System and developing a user-friendly front-end for Reemployment Assistance claimants that is also mobile-friendly. The transformation will occur incrementally to ensure all System users benefit from System optimization, with a focus on enhancing the claimant experience first.
      • Upon the Department’s review and acceptance of both the BPO and SSI vendor’s final report for the modernized System in the next reporting period, the SSI vendor will continue developing a draft scope of work for the CX/UX project.
    • The Data Warehouse project established a separate infrastructure environment for storing and reporting Reemployment Assistance data. The data warehouse enhances System performance by conducting reporting activities in a separate infrastructure environment.
      • This project was completed in January 2022.
    • The Reporting project includes migrating all System reports from the System to the Data Warehouse and developing and validating all federally mandated Reemployment Assistance reports. The data warehouse provides the Department with standardized data and reduces the need for staff intervention for future reporting activities.
      • Of the 39 reports in-scope for this project, 35 are complete and four are currently being validated.
      • Of the 13 data populations that have been added to the scope for this project, eight have been developed and validated in the Data Warehouse, three are currently being developed, and two are remaining for development. 
    • The Archival and Purge project establishes a process for archiving and purging appropriate Reemployment Assistance data. These activities will reduce the Department’s data storage costs and greatly impact the efficiency and stability of the System, because it will purge any data that is no longer required to be maintained by the Department and allow for the secure storage in a separate environment of any data that the Department must maintain for a period of time.
      • Work sessions with various Reemployment Assistance business units are being held to develop project requirements.
      • Draft data governance documents are being developed for Department leadership review, which will also support activities included in the Master Data Management and Interoperability project.
    • The Master Data Management and Interoperability project focuses on creating a data catalog and data dictionary for the Department. These efforts promote data standardization and data sharing among information technology systems that exchange information with the Reemployment Assistance program.
      • A draft Data Dictionary has been prepared and is undergoing review with Data Architects before being presented to Department leadership for review.
      • The System and Software Integration vendor is developing a draft scope of work for this project.
      • A scope change request is being prepared for Department leadership review to consider realigning the project’s scope with the required activities outlined in the iSF Report. Additional information will be available in the next reporting period.
    • The Security Architecture Review project includes assessing the proposed modernized System to strengthen System security, reduce risk for all System users, and to define and implement enhanced security practices that meet or exceed modern security standards.
      • The Security Architecture Review vendor has submitted all deliverables to the Department, and the final deliverable is undergoing Departmental review. The Security Controls Implementation Roadmap is anticipated to be submitted in the next reporting period, following formal project closeout activities.
    • The Identity and Access Management project includes updating all Departmental identity management and access control policies and implementing enhanced front-end security measures to authenticate System users. These efforts ensure the individuals who have access to the System are provided the appropriate amount of access for their need.
      • The Department advertised a Request for Quote for an IAM tool and services for System user role-based access and customized reports and dashboards to enhance System security and user oversight. See Procurement Status below for the anticipated procurement schedule.
    • The Security Architecture Audit project includes a technical audit that will be provided by an independent third-party to review and test all technical aspects of the System for improved System security.
      • This project is forecast to start in January 2023.

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