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Welcome to our Digital Government Strategy web site. We'll use these pages to keep you informed of our work to implement the Digital Government Strategy. If you have any comments about this work, please leave them on our Open Government blog.
Our latest report is below.
Last updated August 29, 2014
Overall Status: In Progress
Describe policy: We take a life cycle approach to managing information and information systems, from creation or acquisition through disposition. In the middle of the information life cycle, we manage the release of data through a combination of a robust Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) program, which safely processes large volumes of personal information, and proactive disclosure, particularly of data sets via data.gov. We are rationalizing and simplifying our governance structure to ensure both greater coordination among program offices and also accountability for decisions around data, including everything from data fields to procurement. Major updates to policies and processes for information collection, information system development, data management, and data release will be scrutinized via this governance structure to ensure interoperability, openness, security, usability, accessibility, the appropriate use of government funds, and the leveraging of economies of scale.
Summary: Our open data leads are working with program offices to document data definitions and standards and publish releasable metadata throughout FY14 and November 2014. In November 2013, we completed an initial inventory and public data listing. For our February 2014 and May 2014 releases, we focused on expanding the inventory and educating data stewards on Project Open Data’s schema. For our August release, we are identifying missing data assets and targeting them for inclusion. We will then focus on “stragglers” and complete the inventory in September, giving our Office of General Counsel approximately two months to conduct its final review in advance of our November release.
Our leadership has sent two memoranda to all OPM Associate Directors and Heads of Office requesting the metadata required to create the inventory, as well as documentation of their data dictionaries, and we have worked one-on-one with offices to obtain the metadata. We are expanding the inventory by identifying more data assets throughout each three-month period and posting all releasable metadata at the end of each period. We are expanding, enriching, and opening the inventory by identifying more datasets and categorizing them for easier access and intelligibility, as well as greater standardization.
Our efforts will not stop in November 2014. Besides maintaining the inventory, we will conduct qualitative analysis to develop categories among the data assets and modify our Metadata Repository (MDR) to incorporate these categories and accommodate the data assets.
We will continue to rely on our overall technology governance structure to ensure compliance. Our Data Governance Board (DGB) will work with program offices to obtain a fuller understanding of OPM's data sets, dictionaries, and standards, and the DGB will use the MDR to centralize data elements and standards across OPM. The DGB will also work with program offices to validate current program data assets, ensure they adhere to the HR data reference model (HRDRM), cite any variance from the HRDRM, and estimate the time to comply with the HRDRM.
Describe process: On both www.opm.gov/digitalstrategy and www.opm.gov/data, we have placed links to the open government topic area in our frequently asked questions system. Users can submit questions or requests for data using that system. OPM’s open government staff redirects these requests to the proper program offices. The program office staff are responsible for responding to these requests. OPM’s Data Governance Board considers remaining requests monthly and works with program offices to release that data as practicable.
Describe process: The Data Governance Board (DGB) oversees the processes of inventorying and releasing data. The members of the DGB are technically competent and represent OPM’s major data owners. We are currently focusing on inventorying our data and are temporarily accepting program offices’ assessments of the public access level of their data assets. However, as we further open our data, when a program office deems that the data’s access level should be public, the DGB will offer a determination as to whether the data could be harmful because of the mosaic effect (i.e., two or more independently harmless data sets could be compared or unified to inadvertently identify an individual or otherwise cause harm) or other potential negative consequence that was unforeseen by the program office. If the DGB does not find any such potential harms, it will recommend to OPM’s Investment Review Board (IRB) that the data be released. The IRB, in turn, will make a recommendation to OPM’s Office of the General Counsel, which will make the final determination. Any program office that labels its data “restricted public” or “non-public” is required to provide justification. Reasons for restricting some of the data but not all of it (“restricted public”) fall primarily into the category of “personally identifiable information,” or “PII.” Social security numbers are the most obvious example, but information about law enforcement or homeland security personnel that could make them easy to target would also be off-limits. In these cases, we will release non-attributable or less granular data at the appropriate time. Reasons for restricting all of the data (“non-public”) fall primarily into the category of “security.” For example, certain data about Continuity of Operations (COOP) are not releasable because they could compromise the agency’s ability to operate securely in a national emergency.
Overall Status: Completed
Paragraph on customer engagement approach: We initially identified 5 possible customer facing services with high value data or content: the OPM Website, Searchable Frequently Asked Questions, FedScope, Federal Government Operating Status, and USAJOBS. Based on feedback we received through engagement with various stakeholders (communities of practice, blogs, social media, and workgroups) we selected the following two existing major customer facing systems for milestone 2.1: (1) USAJOBS and (2) Federal Government Operating Status. We selected these two systems because of public demand for more flexible access to the information they provide. Throughout five open government teams, we have regularly engaged stakeholders from throughout the agency, our union, other agencies, good government groups, and academia on the OPM data that interest them the most. In choosing USAJOBS and the federal government operating status as the first candidates to make compliant with new open data, content, and web API policy, we drew on our many conversations with those stakeholders. We also looked at social media to see what the public is most interested in knowing more about; federal jobs and the operating status consistently draw attention. To prioritize future systems, we will work with the Big Data Community of Practice we recently established, which has a similar makeup to our open government teams. We will also continue to monitor feedback via social media.
System Name: USAJOBS
System Description: Website to post and find federal jobs. By providing an API for USAJOBS, we will make it easier for third parties to (1) provide customized access to job postings (e.g., only those that would be of interest to members of a particular professional organization) or (2) combine job posting with other services or applications (e.g., discussion boards or other social media around federal jobs).
System Scope: both
Main Customer: General public
Unique Investment Identifier: 027-000000053-USAJOBS
System Name: Federal Government Operating Status
System Description: Provides information on the operating status of federal agencies. Not only do federal employees need to know the operating status of their offices, but also many businesses and other organizations base their operating status decisions on ours. The API for the operating status will make it easier for those organizations and even other federal agencies to make full use of operating status data.
Unique Investment Identifier: 027-XXXXXXXXX-New Investment for FY 2014 Budget
Describe policy: Whenever OPM plans to modernize or otherwise significantly alter an existing system, the program office, Enterprise Architect, Records Officer, Data Governance Board (DBG), and Investment Review Board (IRB) will undertake a thorough review of opportunities to leverage web APIs in the revised system. This includes repurposing existing APIs, ensuring interoperability with related government (including but not limited to OPM) systems, and supporting data analysis and mashups. These stakeholders will do the same for new systems. Wherever practical, they will include other stakeholders (e.g., customer agencies) in these discussions.
Name of system: USAJOBS
Description of system: Website to post and find federal jobs. By providing an API for USAJOBS, we are making it easier for third parties to (1) provide customized access to job postings (e.g., only those that would be of interest to members of a particular professional organization) or (2) combine job posting with other services or applications (e.g., discussion boards or other social media around federal jobs).
Scope of system: both
Main Customers: General public
API Link: USAJOBS Open Data
Name of system: Federal Government Operating Status
Description of system: Provides information on the operating status of federal agencies. Not only do federal employees need to know the operating status of their offices, but also many businesses and other organizations base their operating status decisions on ours. This service will make it easier for those organizations and even other federal agencies to make full use of operating status data. There are actually three APIs: Current Status with real-time data on the Washington, DC-area operating status, supplemented by Status Types and Status History back to January 1, 1995.
API Link: Current Status API
Paragraph on Governance: OPM has long had four boards that govern the acquisition and use of information technology (IT) assets, but these boards have not been integrated. Rather than create another, separate board, we are consolidating the existing Capital Investment Committee (CIC) with the Investment Review Board (IRB). Program offices will report all acquisition efforts regarding digital assets to the IRB through the Technology Integration Board (TIB) and Data Governance Board (DGB) prior to award. All of the IRB’s members already sit on one or more of these existing boards; the IRB’s main function is to ensure enterprise-wide coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on all aspects of digital assets.
URL to Governance Document: Digital Government Strategy Governance
Describe Implementation: Request For Proposals (RFP) is completed for a telecom expense management system (TEMS). That award starts the migrating of data plans to centralize all OPM mobile devices with contract management occurring in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). We have completed an analysis of the existing providers’ plan structure and are modifying data use plans to match agency user needs. New plans or rollover plans will be negotiated and consolidated into a single Agency account. Lastly, the RFP is designed to negotiate low- to no-cost hardware replacement from the selected vendor.
Describe Implementation: We are strengthening and simplifying our digital governance. One of the goals of these changes is to make it easier for executives and program managers to take a more holistic approach to OPM’s systems and services, thereby allowing us to better prioritize these system and services. Also, we recently overhauled opm.gov. We’ve been closely monitoring customer feedback and analytics, and we’re using this information to improve the site. We’re also exploring ways to make opm.gov more mobile friendly. Our efforts with opm.gov serve as a model for other OPM web services.
Paragraph on customer engagement approach: We first identified 5 possible customer facing services for potential optimization for mobile use: the OPM Website, Searchable Frequently Asked Questions, FedScope, Federal Government Operating Status, and USAJOBS. Based on feedback we received through engagement with various stakeholders (communities of practice, blogs, social media and workgroups) we selected the following two existing major customer-facing systems for milestone 7.1: (1) USAJOBS and (2) Federal Government Operating Status. We selected these two systems because (1) there is significant public demand and (2) the full range of functionality for the mobile user community does not exist, since the existing mobile options are toward one operating system. We hear from our stakeholders that USAJOBS is one of the best places to find Federal employment and they would like to be able to access the site through any device, anywhere and anytime. USAJOBS launched an iOS (iPhone and iPad) application several months ago. However, nothing currently exists for users of Android phones or tablets; our goal is to provide equal access to users of both major mobile platforms. As technologies evolve, we may need to add other platforms. for the USAJOBS application to be device agnostic so it is available for all users. More than 5,000 people have downloaded the iOS application, and many have asked for an Android app through the USAJOBS Facebook page. Likewise, our stakeholders often provide feedback regarding how great it would be to have an application (again for any device, anywhere) to quickly find out about the operating status of the federal government. To prioritize future systems for mobile applications or mobile friendly delivery via web browsers, we will work with the Big Data Community of Practice we recently established, which has a similar makeup to our open government teams. We will also continue to monitor feedback via social media.
System Description: Website to post and find federal jobs. By keeping our popular iOS mobile app up-to-date and creating an Android version, we will better serve more people seeking federal employment.
System Description: Provides information on the operating status of federal agencies. Not only do federal employees use this information whenever there is bad weather or an unexpected major event such as an earthquake, but local businesses and other organizations often make their own operating status decisions based on the federal government’s decision. Although OPM has never created an application for the operating status, one exists for iOS devices and is sold by a private entity for $0.99. We will make this freely available information also more freely accessible with a mobile application for devices using any of the four major mobile operating systems.
Describe Implementation: Whenever OPM plans a significant change to a web service, the program office and technical staff will explore options for mobile optimization with "anytime, anywhere, on any device" and reuse in mind. "Reuse" can mean both using the same code for many platforms (e.g., through responsive web design) and the reuse of code in other projects within OPM or by the wider community (e.g., through making the code publicly available). Similarly, all new web services, including websites, will be required to be optimized for mobile use unless they receive a waiver from our top information technology governance body, the Investment Review Board (IRB). Waivers will be granted for internal services when the program office can demonstrate that users will access the services only through work stations.
Service Name: USAJOBS
Service Description: Website to post and find federal jobs. By keeping our popular iOS mobile app up-to-date and creating an Android version, we will better serve more people seeking federal employment.
Primary customers: General public
URL of service: USAJOBS Mobile Apps
Service Name: Federal Government Operating Status
Service Description: Provides information on the operating status of federal agencies. Not only do federal employees use this information whenever there is bad weather or an unexpected major event such as an earthquake, but local businesses and other organizations often make their own operating status decisions based on the federal government’s decision. Although OPM has never created an application for the operating status, one exists for iOS devices and is sold by a private entity for $0.99. We will make this freely available information also more freely accessible with a mobile application for devices using any of the four major mobile operating systems.
URL of service: OPM Alert Mobile App
Implemented Digital Analytics Program: yes
Percent of websites covered: 76
URL of performance data: To be determined.
Describe Implementation: To be determined.
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OPM’s Technology Integration Board (TIB) and Data Governance Board (DGB) report to the Investment Review Board (IRB). The IRB, in turn, is accountable for reporting and the annual PortfolioStat Review with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The IRB’s members are OPM’s:
Through these boards and individual board members, program offices and agency-wide groups work with the IRB on specific subjects.