OPM Davelops Cloud Practice to Streamline Operations; Akanksha Sharma Quoted

OPM Davelops Cloud Practice to Streamline Operations; Akanksha Sharma Quoted
Akanksha Sharma Senior Advisor OPM CIO

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has created a cloud practice to make informed telework decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the cloud practice, OPM facilities spent two to three hours a day scraping data on COVID-19 cases from state and federal websites. 

The time it took to scrape data caused delays in consolidating and analyzing data on the COVID-19 pandemic. OPM called upon the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Cloud Adoption Center of Excellence (CoE) to develop a faster solution for the facilities team.

“I really jumped on that with the help of the CoE team because I just thought it was such a great, tangible use case to drive business value,” said Akanksha Sharma, senior advisor to OPM’s chief information officer (CIO). “So within three weeks, we were able to create a dashboard for them.”

With the help of GSA, OPM custom-developed an open-source Python application, as opposed to commercial off-the-shelf solution, to expedite development. The dashboard has been displayed using JavaScript and HTML libraries.

To make the dashboard easily accessible, OPM procured a cloud instance, which is currently in the process to be integrated agency-wide. The agency has also planned to configure the instance to enterprise settings. 

OPM has also worked with its cybersecurity team to streamline the authority to operate processes and create a playbook for adding additional apps to the cloud in the future. Since the dashboard only contains publicly available information, OPM will next work with its security and privacy teams to clear Federal Information Security Management Act

“The next major step is for us to create a procurement strategy that allows us to actually scale the cloud,” Sharma said. “Since we needed something quickly, I think we did it on a purchase card, so you really can’t put too many high-performing applications on there.”

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