eCPIC to Folio: The Evolution of a Federal Shared Service

As we move forward in our modernization efforts, the Electronic Capital Planning and Investment Control (eCPIC) team has been exploring new ways to reach out to our users. We have started this blog in order to provide updates on all the exciting and new things going on in our community.

For some of you, this blog will provide updates on longstanding efforts in which you have been involved. To the rest, we hope to make a proper introduction.

We are a government entity within the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) that sells a government-owned software solution (eCPIC) to other government entities. We are what is known as a federal shared service.

Government modernization is a term that is thrown around a lot these days and while everyone tends to agree that it is needed, you will get many answers as to what that means. While government modernization might be applied differently from program to program, here’s how eCPIC got in the game.

In 2003, a group of federal agencies came together to define, develop, and implement the eCPIC application. Fourteen years later and with a Federal eCPIC Steering Committee (FESCOM) community 18 agencies-strong, we are embarking on a process of modernization to build a new application from the ground up by leveraging industry best practices and cutting-edge solutions to better serve the needs of users. We are aiming to provide a world-class application that facilitates data collection, analysis and submission through a powerful and intuitive interface. This effort will result in a tool that improves user experience and provides increased capabilities and flexibility.

Over the past decade, the community’s needs have caused the eCPIC application to evolve beyond its original purpose of simply submitting IT budget data to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). With all of these changes to the IT landscape, we recognize that older, non-cloud-based technologies, the current legacy applications were built upon will not be able to keep up with expanding requirements and changing needs. The new architecture and design will continue to support the data submission required by OMB, but will also allow users to utilize the tool to manage and analyze their IT spending, support Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) implementation, and allow for internal and external data calls.

Here are three big efforts the eCPIC team has undergone to assist in modernizing the legacy application:

  1. Initiated Tiger Teams to End Users’ Sessions: By introducing tiger teams of specialists to end users’ sessions, we ensure we are not merely replicating old functionality, but providing services relevant to the user experience. We intend to adapt to the user instead of the user adapting to us.
  2. Retired Long Development Style of Working: We have retired our previous longer framework in favor of Agile two-week development sprints. With today’s innovations in DevOps, there is little reason to only check that users like or need a product after spending months developing them.
  3. Applied Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Techniques: We are instituting the MVP technique, as the current eCPIC application does a lot that might not be needed as we move forward. Instead of replicating all functions from the legacy system, we want to focus on what our users really need as a core application.

As we continue to develop and modernize the eCPIC program, we are committed to providing information, including updates and scheduled events, along the way. Stay tuned!