RPA, identity on tap for Centers of Excellence

The head of Technology Transformation Services wants the White House-backed Centers of Excellence program to accommodate emerging technology.

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The General Services Administration is exploring changes to core Centers of Excellence efforts to better address operations, one of the agency's top technology executives said.

Anil Cheriyan, the director of GSA's Technology Transformation Services (TTS), said the agency is thinking about creating new core areas around robotic process automation and identity management. It is also considering combining two pairs of existing areas because they are similar, he said at FedScoop's FedTalks event on June 5.

GSA added 22 companies to a blanket purchase agreement that agencies can tap for specific applications to create their own Centers of Excellence, each with capabilities in at least one of the five core areas the agency had initially designated.

"We started off with five [centers] -- client experience, call center, data center modernization, cloud adoption and data analytics. We're now expanding that and consolidating those," Cheriyan said.

RPA and ID management areas could be added as those technologies are advancing quickly and showing their worth in industry.

"We're building new capabilities with robotics process automation. RPA with [artificial intelligence] looped into it is something that in my experience has worked in the private sector, particularly in the financial sector."

Cheriyan began his job at TTS this past January after working in the banking industry. He was formerly executive vice president and CIO at SunTrust Banks.

"We've leveraged [RPA] in a big way in the financial services industry because we've got many old legacy systems. It's too expensive to replace all those legacy systems, so we relied on process automation to link and automate across those systems," he said.

"We’ve started a new community of practice" for RPA, he said. "We'll start building our capabilities there."

Identity management is a core need for agencies such as the IRS, the Department of Education and the Social Security Administration, Cheriya said, adding that TTS is "actively looking and having conversations with the financial services industry" that has significant interests and capabilities in identity technologies and practices.

Additionally, Cheriyan said the agency is looking into combing the customer experience and contact center areas into an "omnichannel experience" area.

The data center modernization and cloud adoption centers, he said, could also be combined. "You can't do one without the other."

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