While many Federal agencies are transitioning at least some employees back to physical offices, the State Department is searching for new software to enable remote work.

In a request for information (RFI), the State Department said it is looking for information from the private sector for a suite of remote work products. The agency said it currently has agreements to work with a specific vendor of remote work products, but it is looking for companies that provide a similar suite of capabilities. Information generated from the RFI will be used as market research to determine an acquisition strategy for an anticipated competitive acquisition. Submissions are due by June 21, 2021.

The State Department requires a suite of products that provides a host of capabilities:

  • A software tool that will allow for the capability of launching a working desktop session for customers who are accessing department resources remotely;
  • A software tool that supports the required license requirement for the volume of concurrent users actively using the system on a daily basis;
  • A software tool that permits the option for customers to choose either a separate application or full desktop to perform their daily tasks;
  • A software tool that enables the segmentation of the various authentication types when customers are attempting to log in from a remote location;
  • A software tool that provides the capability to host public-facing URLs that support remote telework;
  • A hardware tool that allows for secure and remote access for web and application use via a virtual appliance;
  • A tool that will allow for comprehensive application delivery and load balancing solution for multi-cloud environments;
  • A tool that has operational and feature consistency with comprehensive security for monolithic and microservices-based applications on-premises and in the cloud;
  • A tool with pooled capacity licensing, that allows for moving capacity across form factors, clouds, and geographies to meet growing demand with no issues; and
  • The ability to license these various products in bundles and suites.

While it is looking to improve its remote work technologies, the State Department was very successful in transitioning to remote work at the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. By late April of last year, then-CIO Stuart McGuigan said the department was at roughly 90 percent of telework, with the remaining 10 percent performing duties not transferrable to telework, such as driving. Principal Deputy CIO Michael Mestrovich told MeriTalk that just before the pandemic, the department’s telework number was “probably in the hundreds.” That number skyrocketed quite quickly, and by April 2020 21,000 domestic employees were teleworking.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.