Tim Persons: GAO Plans to Build Up Cloud Capabilities Through Innovation Lab

Tim Persons: GAO Plans to Build Up Cloud Capabilities Through Innovation Lab
Tim Persons Chief Scientist GAO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) worked with the General Services Administration (GSA) in March 2020 to come up with a cloud infrastructure for its Innovation Lab through GSA’s Centers of Excellence initiative and Tim Persons, chief scientist at GAO, said the congressional watchdog intends to ramp up its cloud capabilities through the lab to help increase its return on investment, Federal News Network reported Tuesday.

“We’re trying to leverage with the power of these tools – the data analytics, the artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, whatever it is – we want to really jack that up even higher. It would be great to think about, ‘What if we got $1,000 for every dollar put in GAO,’” Persons said Tuesday at a summit. "If we are successful, we might be able to make the $100 for every dollar look small."

According to a report, GAO documented $77.6 billion in financial benefits for the government in fiscal year 2020, representing a return of approximately $114 for every dollar invested in the agency.

In 2019, GAO established the Innovation Lab to advance the use of analytics and other emerging technologies to help improve audits of federal programs and save taxpayer dollars.

Through the lab, GAO came up with a dashboard within weeks to monitor COVID-19 vaccine development work through the Operation Warp Speed program. Persons said the agency considers applying Agile methodology to its oversight work.

“In this space, you need to think agile and iterative and be willing to take calculated risks and then be able to back away, and adjust and adapt. It’s all about speed and agility, and there’s a lot of room for the government to grow,” he said.

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