Is the IRS thinking about a switch to off-the-shelf CRM?

Shutterstock image (by Jozsef Bagota): Blue cloud speech bubbles

WHAT: A market research notice from the IRS about software-as-a-service capabilities.

WHY: The IRS is in deep water when it comes to customer service. Callers typically wait a half hour or more to speak with a staffer at the tax agency's contact centers during tax season. Many give up in frustration.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen blames funding cuts. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee blame poor management and misplaced spending priorities. Whatever the cause, the rift on IRS funding between the White House and Congress seems almost unbridgeable.

To go by a recent sources sought notice published on Fed Biz Opps, the IRS might be looking to a commercial customer relationship management tool as a way to lower the cost of taxpayer contact, while improving efficiency and performance. The agency wants to be briefed by vendors on services that offer workforce management, contact recording and contact analytics in the cloud. The solicitation asks specifically for vendor offerings in customer contact, including phone, email and live chat, and how the IRS will be able to use information on contacts to generate performance reports.

Per the notice, the demos sought are for the IRS Contact Center in New Carrolton, Md.

Taxpayer data is some of the most closely guarded in the government. The IRS won't be able to simply contract with Salesforce or Oracle on a plug-and-play basis. The security requirements to put IRS data in the cloud, and manage taxpayer contacts would be considerable.

But this notice is worth watching if it is indeed a step toward modernizing and streamlining IRS-taxpayer relationships, especially in light of recent revelations that the "Get Transcript" program that offered access to prior year tax information was a popular target of hackers, who found easy workarounds to the system's authentication protocols. About 330,000 accounts were breached, and attempts were made to hack into an additional 280,000 going back to November 2014.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Aug 18, 2015 at 8:28 AM


Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.