E-gov project raises Deloitte's fed profile
- By Gail Repsher Emery
- Jun 05, 2003
"We're focused on the efficiency and performance of the organization: strategy, business processes, support and operations as well as technology." -- Greg Pellegrino, Deloitte Consulting
Deloitte Consulting has operated quietly in the federal marketplace for three years, while amassing the bulk of its government work in the state and local arena. A high-profile e-government job with the Transportation Security Administration, however, could put a spotlight on its federal business.
The New York firm in December won an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract worth up to $205 million over five years to develop the agency's e-government operating platform.
"Being a relatively new vendor, the work they are doing at TSA can only help their overall visibility with the federal agencies. It is a key win for Deloitte, and a key aspect of how they continue to build out their services within the federal government market," said Rishi Sood, principal analyst with market research firm Gartner Dataquest of Stamford, Conn.
The job is much more than building a portal, said Greg Pellegrino, a partner with Deloitte Consulting.
"We're focused on the efficiency and performance of the organization: strategy, business processes, support and operations, as well as technology. It's a transformational set of services funded on a task-order basis," said Pellegrino, leader of the firm's global e-government practice.
Deloitte's subcontractors are Mele Associates Inc., an IT services firm in Rockville, Md., and Redmon Group Inc., a creative design firm in Alexandria, Va.
Accenture Ltd. and BearingPoint Inc. were Deloitte's competitors for the job, Pellegrino said.
If Deloitte is successful, "when there are re-bids, it gives them a success to point at. It's an issue of increasing credibility in terms of been there, done that in the [federal] space," said Carol Kelly, vice president of government strategies with Meta Group Inc., a Stamford, Conn., market research firm.
But John Kost, vice president and research director for worldwide public sector at market research firm Gartner Inc., also of Stamford, said the win at TSA doesn't automatically give Deloitte an advantage in other agencies.
"Each seems to have unique ideas about and needs for e-government. ... There are 22,000 federal portals, and there doesn't seem to be any dominant player in the bunch, despite all of that experience," Kost said.
The goal of TSA's e-gov program is to solve the agency's business problems through shared solutions, said Sara Hebert, TSA's e-government program manager.
Deloitte put together a team that addressed agency business processes first and developed technical solutions second, she said.
"We complicated the job by saying you have to create a solution that can be shared by multiple user groups. The platform demonstrates how we have gone down that path," she said. "We created a vision for each application to encompass future functionality and users."
One shared solution, the inquiry management system, is used by two groups, but has the potential to be used by eight to 10 groups. Over time, TSA's seven e-gov applications will be expanded, and new applications will be added, Hebert said.
The other applications are security operations, content management, legal case management, contact list, alert notification and user management.
TSA began work on its e-gov strategy about 10 months ago, buying Deloitte's services off the General Services Administration schedules. Within weeks of starting work, Deloitte created an intranet to provide information to all teams working to configure security checkpoints in airports, Pellegrino said.
"There was a definite speed-to-market orientation that everyone in the organization felt," Pellegrino said. "It was less of a challenge working within TSA than it would be in a more typical experience, where organizational boundaries have been in place."
Creating something from next to nothing -- TSA went from zero to 65,000 employees in less than a year -- provided distinct opportunities for e-government in the fledgling agency, Pellegrino said.
There were no TSA systems, only systems inherited from agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, so Deloitte and TSA officials could take an "outside-in" look at e-government needs, rather than a typical "inside-out" look, where a system is put in place and users are expected to relate to it.
They conducted approximately 90 interviews with stakeholders to determine the requirements for an e-gov platform: users in law enforcement, airlines, airport operations, airline passengers, TSA employees and others.
The exercise allowed TSA to develop a perspective of common needs across the entire enterprise, Pellegrino said.
"By developing this outside-in profile, we were able to build from those needs inward to develop an architecture, a project plan based on highest priority need and a set of common tools," he said.
In private-sector industry, such an exercise is called developing a customer relationship management strategy.
"It's not uncommon at all to do it in a bank or a telecom company, but it's unique to do in the government," Pellegrino said.
Sood said these commercial business practices are key assets Deloitte brings to the federal marketplace.
"The domain expertise and the business process expertise of implementing technology -- building a common enterprise architecture, using common off-the-shelf technology and best practices in contracting -- are what the federal government is starting to really tout in new federal IT implementations. And they are things Deloitte has done in traditional commercial vertical markets -- retail, banks, health care," he said.
The TSA project is one of the most advanced projects the company has undertaken in either government or industry, Pellegrino said.
The platform supports TSA's intranet, extranet and public Web site. The three "nets" are all are linked to a single publishing engine, so new information is only published once.
In addition, the agency's call center is linked to its Web publishing capabilities, including wireless distribution.
The applications' combined capabilities can be powerful, Hebert said.
For example, if staff nationwide had to be alerted immediately, TSA's command center could use the alert notification application and the content management application to send documents securely.
TSA's initial e-gov capabilities were implemented in 10 months, "a record by any measure," Pellegrino said. "They provide a foundation for TSA and the Department of Homeland Security more broadly as they continue to perform their missions."
In fact, Homeland Security is already using the TSA e-gov platform. TSA and Deloitte had been asked to develop the department's Web site about 40 days before it went live Jan. 24. They used TSA's e-government strategy and technology investments to get the job done.
"It was a great example of reuse, cost savings and fast turnaround," Hebert said.
Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.