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News Release

Monday, May 10, 2004
Contact: Edmund Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Issues Policies on IT Procurements, Accessibility, Electronic Signature

Continues improvement of internal IT management

Washington, D.C. - As a part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's continuing focus on strengthening the management of information technology (IT) to ensure that employees and the general public have access to electronic IT, OPM has issued three new internal policies. These policies will improve the coordination and oversight of IT procurements, improve accessibility to those with disabilities, and promote the use of electronic signatures for business applications and information collections when practicable.

"In this day and age, when almost everyone must have access to today's ever-changing technology, it is vital that the federal government ensures that its IT systems are cost-effective and comply with all applicable laws and regulations," said OPM Director Kay Coles James. "These OPM policies do just that."

Since their inception, OPM's IT infrastructure and architecture have evolved dramatically, migrating from a very decentralized, stove-piped, and non-standard environment to one that is highly integrated, standardized, and centrally managed.

During the mid-1990's, OPM had multiple, customer or application-centric mainframe data centers that were managed by program organizations. OPM also had multiple local area and wide area networks that were also organizational-centric and managed independently. (Its hardware technology including mainframes, servers, desktops, routers, and switches comprised a collection of disparate technologies, many of which would not interoperate.) Unfortunately, OPM was the typical example of islands of automation.

This situation changed when the OPM Director asked the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to re-evaluate and consolidate management of the agency's IT resources.

One of the CIO's first actions was to begin the process of developing an Architecture Vision. This Vision, which has now evolved into our Enterprise Architecture, defined OPM's IT management principles, goals, and objectives, and laid out the overall roadmap to centralize and manage OPM's IT infrastructure as a single network so that we could gain the benefits of technology.

By following this Architecture Vision, OPM has achieved a level of integration and standardization that others are struggling to acquire. OPM now has a single data center that provides agencywide services and that is managed by a single office. Is also has a "backbone" network and LAN segments with compatible technology, all of which are centrally managed.

Most importantly, OPM has standardized its hardware and software environments, including operating systems, office automation tools, and email, and it centrally manages and administers technology.

Continuing its efforts to maintain and improve its internal IT management, the OPM Information Resources Management Strategic Plan provides the continuing guide for the use and management of technology to support the accomplishment of OPM's mission.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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