Introduction to VA’s 2018 IT Modernization Strategy
When Secretary Wilkie joined VA this year, he remarked that customer service is VA’s prime directive. As a customer service-oriented organization ourselves, we couldn’t agree more. Everything we do enables the technology that VA uses to deliver that exceptional customer service experience our Veterans deserve. From the work our employees do in the field to issue equipment and provide technical support for our systems, to the work we’re doing at VA Central Office to transform our business processes and drive IT modernization—every single aspect of our work has a direct impact on VA’s ability to provide care and benefits for our Veterans. Our 2018 IT Modernization strategy reflects this connection to VA’s larger Strategy, and we measure our progress based on the value we bring to the Secretary’s priorities and VA’s strategy.
VA’s IT Modernization Commitment to Our Core Values
Our core principles—transparency, accountability, innovation, and teamwork—are words that appear often in our reports, our presentations, and our communication with our business partners. We chat with employees about these principles as we conduct town halls around the country. We devote senior leadership meetings to them. We weave them into our interviews with the press and our testimony in Congress.
During a sweeping information technology (IT) transformation that we kicked
off in 2015, we called them our “core DNA.” But that did not give a complete picture of
how hard it is to institutionalize a change in mindset in an organization as large, as diverse, and as
geographically dispersed as ours. So, we find ourselves continually reinforcing them, learning, growing—all
the while remaining steadfast in our commitment to these principles while understanding they aren’t
These core principles are extremely important to the success of the transformation we began in 2015, and the IT modernization strategy we embarked on in 2017. Our ability to pursue and embody these core principles means the difference between an IT organization that collaborates with its business partners to create the best experience for all Veterans and VA employees—or one that becomes a roadblock to VA innovation and the VA customer experience.
We continue to work hard every day to fulfill this vision. We as a team at OIT must continuously recommit to these core principles: transparency, accountability, innovation, and teamwork.
Here’s how we define these core principles:
- TRANSPARENCY: We share our successes and our failures. We tell it like it is, instead of qualifying or glossing over the truth.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: We own the issues within our environment and our organization, and we hold ourselves accountable for fixing them.
- INNOVATION: We ask, “Why not?” and “What if?” We look at our environment and our Veterans’ needs and explore the art of the possible.
- TEAMWORK: We work for the success of Veterans and the VA team, not the glory of the moment.
Our modernization commitment centers on these core principles to transform the way Veterans interact with VA. We envision a seamless, unified Veteran experience—similar to the experience they receive from leading tech companies in the private sector. And we’re building a modern IT infrastructure at VA. Most importantly, we’ve committed to working and building with Veterans, not just for them. We strive to fully understand Veterans’ experiences using VA’s digital tools, and we look for ways to make those tools work for them.
VA’s 2018 IT Modernization Strategic Goals
Our IT Modernization strategy centers on three strategic goals:
- Stabilizing and streamlining core processes and platforms—refocusing on our prime directive—customer service.
- Eliminating Material Weaknesses—strengthening the protection of critical systems that help VA serve those who’ve protected us.
- Institutionalizing new capabilities that drive improved outcomes—driving modernization and building technology with our Veterans, not simply for them.
These three goals were born from outcomes already mandated, those in progress, those we knew we needed, and those required to modernize into the Federal Government’s premier technology organization. The sections that follow describe our progress—real results, real value—against this strategy.
This is our story.