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Gary Washington: USDA to Implement Modern Platforms in Next 12 Months Under CoE Program

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Gary Washington, chief information officer at the Agriculture Department, told Federal News Network in an interview posted Monday that USDA will begin implementing new technology platforms in the next 12 to 18 months as part of the Centers of Excellence program.

Washington said USDA has already closed 21 of the 39 data centers slated for shutdown and will continue to introduce changes to Farmers.gov to improve the customer experience.

“In the data analytics CoE, we’ve rolled out a dashboard on our administrative areas across the department,” he said.

“In the next fiscal year, we will be focusing on program data and putting program data in the dashboard so executives and managers can make informed decisions on the same data.”

He noted that the agency relies on agile development to speed up the deployment of functionality through the customer experience CoE and is now ready to migrate approximately 40 percent of its applications and systems to the cloud.

Washington said he expects the new vendors selected for the CoE program to arrive between Thursday, Oct. 11, and Oct. 18 in order to facilitate the implementation of information technology modernization efforts.

The General Services Administration awarded contracts to 12 companies early this month to support USDA’s IT modernization through the CoE program’s second phase.