GDIT brings streamlined process to VA help desk

This program General Dynamics IT supports for Veterans Affairs is part of a shift to managed services and fixed-price contracts as a way to bring innovation and cost savings to contractor and customer alike.

Fixed-price contracts for IT managed services have been touted for a few years by government agencies and industry as a path forward to innovation and cost savings for both sides of the federal ecosystem.

One example of that shift toward managed services on fixed-price contracts is seen at the Veterans Affairs Department, where General Dynamics’ IT services segment is contracted to support the VA’s main help desk.

GDIT started work with the VA last year to transition its help desk environment from a staff augmentation model toward a managed services approach, through which the onus is largely on the contractor to bring forward new technologies and business processes.

That move “frees up the government to focus on more mission-specific activities,” said Greg Seward, GDIT’s program director for the effort.

The VA’s overall goal was to help its IT Operations and Services Enterprise Service Desk team field calls and other inquiries from VA personnel suffering IT problems at quicker speeds. This means resolving issues over hardware, software, applications, system access, security and others related to IT.

ESD’s team exceeded its goals for cutting caller wait times and the time required to resolve issues, according to the VA.

For GDIT’s part, they brought to the program new tools such as a real-time dashboard to track services and cloud-native applications. This effort covered almost 450,000 users, which made scalability an emphasis as well.

GDIT delivers a vast majority of the services out of its Integrated Technology Center in Bossier City, Louisiana that it inherited through last year’s acquisition of CSRA.

A managed service model also requires being in constant communication with the VA to update them on changes and upgrades as well.

“It’s something that we’ve done in other federal agencies… we’re obviously trying to get better in how we do this with lessons learned and the more we do it,” said Mike Cardarelli, vice president for GDIT’s VA account.

GDIT’s team for the program and the VA talk daily and sometimes on an hourly basis on the services being provided and resolutions to any potential challenges in the delivery, Cardarelli added.

In essence, GDIT is in charge of the program’s strategic direction under the managed services model and shifts the government’s responsibility to more of an oversight role.

“The end result of that really is an outcome-based delivery model that puts the customer first,” Seward said. “Our core focus from a GDIT perspective really is to essentially improve the user experience and really get those VA medical benefits centers and cemetery staff back to work as quickly as possible.”