USDA seeks e-gov vendor

The Agriculture Department is looking for a contractor to develop an e-government strategy for the agency and its 100,000 employees. The request for quotations, issued July 24, calls for a contractor to develop a framework for e-government initiatives at the enterprise and agency levels. Initiatives include paperless transactions, e-filing and electronic signatures.

"The scope of this effort is to...enable USDA's transformation from its current agency-centric, paper-based delivery model to a future enterprise, customer-centric electronic delivery model," the RFQ states.

USDA expects the contract to last four months, with work beginning in early August. The RFQ includes:

* Integrating e-government planning, budgeting and reporting practices.

* Integrating services such as information collection and distribution.

Creating standards for customer service.

Although the value of the contract was not disclosed, the planning part, as well as the work, is expected to cost millions of dollars and last several years.

"It must be broad enough to encompass all USDA proposals," the RFQ stated. "The e-government framework must enable the department to provide the coordination and guidance necessary to guarantee quality products, nonredundant information and effective use of [IT]."

In describing the proposal to tie in all e-government elements, former USDA chief information officer Joseph Leo likened it to a department store: "First floor may have women's shoes, second floor may have men's shoes, another department for cosmetics and suits, but it's one department store.... The first thing is, you have to have a vision and have to articulate that vision."

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