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Nick Wakeman

Will VA's Windows migration opportunity open more doors?

When I skimmed this Veteran Affairs Department sources sought notice for a Windows migration service, my initial reaction was a bit of a yawn.

But I kept reading, and the numbers and magnitude hit home. It could be an opportunity for even more VA work.

The VA wants to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and plans to hire a contractor to do the work. (They use the word “outsource,” which I thought was kind of taboo these days.)

The notice asks if there are any service-disabled, veteran owned small businesses that can do the work. VA plans to compete the project through its Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation vehicle, known as T4NG.

This migration will involve 12,000 computers at VA’s National Capital Region campus in Washington, D.C.; and other facilities in West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. In all there are 26 sites with desktops and laptops that need to be migrated to Windows 10 by Jan. 31, 2020.

An important objective is to migrate the computers without impacting day-to-day operations.

For regular end users, the plan is for the contract to collect the computers and set them up with a temporary computer -- a loaner -- and then return computers migrated to Windows 10 in no more than 72 hours. For VIP end users, the goal is 48 hours.

Each user will need to be contacted ahead of time and told of the plan of action, according to VA solicitation documents.

VA envisions sees the migration using one of two approaches.

Approach 1: The contract will have 250 floater laptops. Before being loaned to the end-user, the laptop will be configured based on information the contractor collects on that particular users. After the user’s regular computer is collected, the contractor will migrate it to Windows 10, conduct quality assurance and return it to the end-user.

Approach 2: The contractor will collect information on the end user and configure a replacement computer, including quality assurance. The old computer will be collected and the new computer will be logged into VA’s asset management system as the end users new device.

The VA wants the contractor to also describe how they will ensure that there a no complaints from end-users due to poor customer service or incorrectly configured computers.

It’ll be a lot to juggle with so many end-user devices and the sense of ownership most people have of their personal work computers. I’m sure there also is a lot of opportunity to use automation to speed up the migration process.

But the other opportunity I see here is the chance to touch so many parts of the VA. This is a great opportunity to intimately learn directly about VA’s mission and their challenges in meeting that mission.

While I have no idea of the value of this work, the potential is here that it could lead to even more work. It is a great chance to get close the customer.

And of course, if you win the work and perform poorly, you’ll draw the ire of 12,000 VA employees. So no pressure.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 16, 2019 at 11:47 AM


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