GSA, USDA Partnership Transformed the Digital Experience for USDA Customers and Avoided $50M+ in Burdensome Costs

August 18, 2021

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that its three-year partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has transformed USDA into a more customer-focused and data-driven agency and avoided more than $50 million in costs. The first-of-its-kind IT modernization project consolidated more than a dozen online contact centers, modernized the USDA website, and has already increased approval rates in the USDA’s Farm Loan program by 3.5%.

In early 2018, USDA joined forces with GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), as the first customer of its Centers of Excellence (CoE) to collaborate on a full spectrum of IT modernization challenges that spanned five areas: cloud adoption, contact center, customer experience, data and analytics, and infrastructure optimization.

This project is a prime example of GSA’s commitment to using technology to help federal agencies deliver for the people and communities they serve,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “This first-of-its-kind collaboration is already yielding significant benefits: expanding access to USDA loan programs for farmers and ranchers, making it easier for USDA customers to get the answers and information they need, while avoiding burdensome costs. USDA has been a great partner over the last three years and we look forward to these IT modernization efforts continuing to benefit customers and taxpayers for years to come.”

“We are so proud to have partnered with USDA to tackle IT modernization at an enterprise level,” said FAS Deputy Commissioner and TTS Director Dave Zvenyach. “Working with USDA influenced our scope of possibility when entering into subsequent agency collaborations, which allows us to accelerate transformations at the right time with the right tools and resources to ensure transformation longevity.”

“USDA is proud to have been the lighthouse agency for Federal IT Modernization,” said Gary Washington, USDA Chief Information Officer. “The roadmap we created in partnership with GSA is being used successfully across the federal government. This creates not only a new customer focused environment but also ensures we continue to save millions of dollars in duplicative and antiquated systems each year.”

During the partnership, GSA and USDA:

  • Launched AskUSDA, a single omni-channel infrastructure supporting 15 public facing USDA contact centers, which serves as the one “front door” to help deliver a centralized contact center experience, helping customers get consistent and streamlined information.
  • Closed 31 of 37 data centers, resulting in cost savings/avoidance of $42.5M, exceeding USDA goal by $18.7M.
  • Increased the USDA Farm Loan approval rate by 3.5% in a year.
  • Reduced data analytics duplication, resulting in $10M in cost avoidance.
  • Created a ‘detailee’ program to develop transferable skills and leadership ability while learning to serve customers better.
  • Trained 3,000 users in dashboards and data visualization.
  • Established data analytics capability and developed 100+ dashboards to facilitate data-driven decision making and streamline access to information.
  • Spearheaded a website modernization effort and USDA digital strategy to shrink 739 public-facing domains footprint.
  • Designed and launched a Centralized USDA Cloud Office that provides multi-cloud services.

The CoE model is to meet agency partners where they are in their modernization journey, accelerate their transformation efforts, and give them the right tools and resources to be successful after the partnership ends. With the successful completion of the initial CoE engagement, the CoE team is excited for the continued progress USDA will make in its journey and looking forward to their future success.

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About GSA

GSA provides centralized procurement for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet and overseeing approximately $75 billion in annual contracts. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services across government, in support of the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities. As part of GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS) the CoE program speeds up acquisition, discovery, and implementation to facilitate the adoption of modern technology by executive agencies. TTS applies modern methodologies and technologies to improve the lives of the public and public servants. We help agencies make their services more accessible, efficient, and effective with modern applications, platforms, processes, personnel, and software solutions. For more information, visit GSA.gov and coe.gsa.gov or follow us at @USGSA and @GSACOE.

About USDA

USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management. USDA has a vision to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation's natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.

Last Reviewed: 2021-08-18