In 2023, TTS stepped up to meet growing technology demands for government
GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS) celebrated major milestones and met growing demand for its services in 2023.
As background, TTS is the largest agency-independent technology organization in the federal government and partners with agencies to take on some of the hardest technology challenges in government, including managing massive implementation efforts, getting the right tech talent into the right places, bringing innovative new tools into government, and modernizing legacy systems. TTS also builds and delivers products, creates technology shared services to give agencies better technology building blocks, and runs trainings and communities of practice to support the federal tech community. TTS’ goal is to help agencies meet the needs of the public in seamless, secure, and equitable ways, combining best practices from both the tech and government worlds.
“TTS has close to 600 technologists of all kinds, in more than 25 programs, working on hundreds of projects, all of which focus on helping agencies innovate, lower cost and risk, and reduce burden on the public,” said Ann Lewis, TTS director. “We’re bringing the best ideas from the tech world into government in a pragmatic way, to ensure that the technology products and services we provide are useful, valuable, and help agencies meet the needs of the millions of Americans who need to access government programs and services 24/7.”
TTS leaders focused in 2023 on strengthening and scaling Login.gov and FedRAMP, working across government to improve the customer experience of federal websites, and building better organizational practices to set TTS programs up for long term success. TTS has been investing deeply in building key technology capacities, as well as developing stronger oversight and management practices, including stronger systems of internal controls, cultivating a great leadership team, developing robust standard operating procedures and stronger financial management practices, and taking a deep look at governance structures.
Improving customer experience
TTS works to provide good customer experiences that reduce barriers for users by finding common needs across agencies and programs, and building technology shared services so agencies don’t have to start from scratch when they want to stand up a new technology platform or take on a modernization challenge.
For example, Login.gov, “the public’s one account for government,” rolled out new capabilities like a 24/7 multilingual contact center with phone support, and in-person identity proofing at 18,000 U.S. Postal Service locations. In August, GSA announced that Login.gov has over 70 million user accounts, and in September, GSA announced that all Cabinet agencies now use Login.gov for at least one program or application.
The Public Benefits Studio worked to simplify the public experience of navigating federal government programs that help low-income individuals and families by launching a pilot of Notify.gov. This new text messaging service empowers federal, state and tribal entities to more quickly and easily send text messages to program participants with important notifications.
Also last year, demand grew for resources like Digital.gov, which connects federal employees with information to create outstanding websites and digital services. For example, by the end of the year, 91 agencies and nearly 450 websites were using the free and open source US Web Design System toolkit on sites that got over 1 billion page views a month. (Also, Digital.gov hosted seven communities of practice – which bring together employees across the government who work on similar tasks – with a growing membership of 11,436 participants.)
TTS also worked closely with the White House as an implementation partner on policy frameworks that improve the public’s experience of government, like Delivering a Digital-First Public Experience, and the Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience.
Modernizing federal technology
Also in 2023, GSA helped agencies responsibly and effectively deploy innovative technologies within their own infrastructure to better meet their missions.
For example, 18F – a program that helps government agencies build, buy, and share technology products – began work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to update Weather.gov. 18F also collaborated with the IRS and the U.S. Digital Service to pilot IRS Direct File, a new tax filing option.
Also, in June, FedRAMP – a program that promotes secure cloud services across government through a standardized security and risk assessment for cloud technologies – launched a new and improved FedRAMP Marketplace that makes locating cloud service information easier for federal agencies. FedRAMP helps identify common technology needs across government and ensure that agencies don’t have to start from scratch buying and building technology platforms. It gets services to people faster and saves money for taxpayers.
Innovating for the future
Great products, services, and solutions come from great ideas. In 2023, TTS programs like 10x and Challenge.gov invited federal employees and the public, respectively, to engage and participate.
Last spring, 10x, an innovation lab that crowdsources and prototypes ideas from federal employees, launched 15 new good-for-people technology projects based on great ideas from federal workers. And in October, 10x invited even more new ideas to solve problems that impact the public. (Notably, 10x was where we originally found the ideas that led to Login.gov and USWDS.)
Challenge.Gov, too, saw significant growth in 2023. More than 135 challenges published on the platform, 1,932 submissions were received, and over $173 million in prize funds were distributed. Challenge.Gov successfully partnered with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to design and promote the Year of Open Science Recognition Challenge. Current challenges include the Department of Energy’s Community Energy Innovation Prize and the Health and Human Services Innovation Challenge to Prevent Human Trafficking Among Women and Girls which seeks innovative solutions to prevent human trafficking of women and girls in the United States.
TTS also is playing an important role in supporting President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence. Signed into law in October, Lewis and TTS leaders are participating in the AI and Technology Talent Task Force, and the U.S. Digital Corps and Presidential Innovation Fellows participated in the National AI Talent Surge in November, running extremely competitive hiring efforts to bring AI-focused fellows into their upcoming cohorts. In addition, this past fall, in partnership with Stanford University, the Centers of Excellence’s AI Community of Practice hosted a six-part training program on AI for federal employees.
GSA’s contributions will help ensure the federal government leads the way in the responsible, effective use of AI.
Focus on equity and accessibility
Equitable design and user experience were top priorities in developing and delivering federal digital services.
The GSA Equity Study on Remote Identity Proofing launched to study remote identity-proofing technologies that the American public may interact with when accessing government services and benefits. The study will publish final results in FY25.
To better connect the public with government online services, the USA.gov and USAGov en Español websites were updated to help the public access the government information they need more quickly and directly. USAGov en Español celebrated 20 years as the official guide to government information in Spanish, connecting Spanish speakers to information about federal programs and services.
Building the technology workforce of tomorrow
TTS supports governmentwide technology needs by hiring talented technologists for its consulting, fellowship, and program teams who contribute to modernization, planning and implementation work across government.
In July, GSA welcomed 48 new fellows to the U.S. Digital Corps in its second cohort. The Presidential Innovation Fellows, a yearlong fellowship that places senior technologists, designers, and strategists with federal agencies, was featured on the GSA Does That?! podcast in June.
TTS itself hired over 100 colleagues across its many teams, including key executives Deputy Director Mukunda Penugonde and Acting Chief Operating Officer Saul Japson. In September, TTS realigned into two main offices: the Office of TTS Operations and the Office of TTS Delivery, to better scale teams and processes, and empower team leaders to meet increased demand in 2024.
TTS is committed to driving technology innovation while being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and provides immense value to agencies and the public. Every time TTS delivers technology services and solutions to government agencies, it helps agencies avoid duplicating work, reduce costs, time, and complexity, and deliver better government experiences to the public. Better technology means a more efficient and effective government, a win-win solution for all.