The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated their goals on modernizing its information technology through an action plan that is focusing on customer-focused, evidence-based, and tax-dollar efficient technology. The update was released Tuesday on

The USDA is one of the departments expected to create a Center of Excellence to help fully realize the potential of IT modernization, per the President’s Management Agenda.

By September 30th, 2019, the USDA wants to be able to provide leadership with instant access to key administrative data to make data-driven decisions. Through the action plan, the USDA will continue to develop a series of administrative dashboards to enable fast delivery of functionality to the leadership team and to track progress of the plan:

  • Pilot OCIO Dashboard
  • Implement CXO Governance
  • Pilot Executive Dashboard
  • Deliver OCIO Dashboard
  • Deliver OHRM Dashboard
  • Deliver OCFO Dashboard
  • Deliver OO Dashboard
  • Deliver OCP & OPFM (formerly OPPM) Dashboards
  • Deliver OHS Dashboard
  • Deliver Executive Dashboard
  • Deploy Technical Infrastructure
  • Expand Capabilities to Mission Areas (In progress)

Thus far, all dashboards have completed their progressions, with the exception being the “Expand Capabilities to Mission Areas” dashboard which is in progress to be completed by the first quarter of fiscal year 2019.

The agency has also made progress towards standing up the cloud-based data lake to support back-end automation and data consolidation for the dashboards. After securing an Authority to Operate (ATO), several dashboards on the cloud-hosted server now update automatically.

To communicate the initiative across the organization and to leadership, the USDA is taking a three-step approach to communicating the changes. The first being outreach to spread awareness; the second being institutionalizing governance which will provide leaders with the steps necessary to address change; and the third being training and communications which will help deploy and support analytics.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.