IBM to upgrade VA IT organization

The Department of Veterans Affairs has tapped IBM to improve security of the VA’s information technology organization. The contract is valued at about $16 million and runs through 2008.

IBM will help create a more standardized, interoperable and secure IT environment to enable the prompt and seamless delivery of services to veterans, according to a statement from the integrator.

The project will include all of the VA’s major business units, including its three main administrations: Veterans Health, Veterans Benefits and the National Cemetery administrations.

“The reorganization of our [IT] infrastructure will improve the department’s ability to provide the full range of benefits and programs to the nation’s veterans,” said VA Secretary Jim Nicholson in the statement. “IBM is the right partner to help us achieve this goal.”

IBM said the work with the VA reflects comparable projects it has undertaken to help analyze and transform business and technology processes throughout the health care industry and within government.

The VA has been under pressure from lawmakers and veterans groups to improve how it handles personal data since the May theft of a laptop computer from a VA employee's home that contained 26.5 million veterans’ records. The laptop was later recovered.

The VA win builds on other IBM projects in the government sector and health care industry, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' contract to transform one of the world’s largest claims processing organizations by consolidating its data-processing centers into three highly efficient ones in the next five years.

“Our goal is to help the department align its technology environment with industry IT best practices so that its already high standards of service to veterans can be surpassed,” said John Nyland, public-sector managing partner at IBM Global Business Services.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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