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Your Environment. Your Health.

Commodity Business Computing

Rationale

Commodity business computing supports and maintains general enterprise systems, including providing staff expertise, software, and hardware. Commodity business computing includes packaged software that is deployed for workplace productivity, business functions, and communications (Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Citrix Receiver, WebEx), as well as packaged software deployed in the NIEHS data center or as service in a cloud environment (ColdFusion, Oracle, Master Calendar, Drupal). Packaged software is generally developed for a large and diverse audience with economical price points, and it cannot be as individualized as non-commodity or custom-programmed software because it is purchased off the shelf. In general, all software that NIEHS centrally distributes and patches is considered packaged or off-the-shelf software. Commodity business computing further includes desktop hardware and peripherals, including desktop and laptop computers, monitors, keyboards, PIV card readers, printers, mobile devices, digital signage, web conferencing equipment, VoIP phones, and others.

Goals

Support Diverse Mission Functions and Domains

The institute will provide effective commodity business computing that supports operations, automation, and communications across diverse scientific, grant-making, and enterprise-wide mission areas.

NIEHS I&IT Will:

  • Provide desktop productivity resources that enable the workforce to accomplish tasks and increase efficiency.
  • Provide and maintain client computing to enable the institute to utilize network, server, and cloud-based resources.
  • Provide for secure computer-based communications and collaboration.
  • Streamline and automate business processes to maximize efficiency and transparency.
  • Track monetary and nonmonetary resources, people, and materials.
  • Enable business analytics.
  • Provide and maintain application development platforms and frameworks.
  • Provide financially and technologically sustainable and environmentally friendly refresh and replacement.
  • Monitor and respond to trend analyses.
  • Support the institute community with quality and timely service.

Ensure Lifecycle Planning

  • Conduct strategic planning for commodity business computing needs, addressing key challenges and gaps.
  • Implement lifecycle planning for all commodity business computing equipment, software, and systems, including plans to stay current with related version releases or to retire legacy computing resources.
  • Assure that existing and future commodity business computing will be secure, user-friendly, innovative, state of the art, nimble, and meet institute needs.
  • Utilize cloud services when beneficial to take advantage of economies of scale and efficiencies.
  • Manage licensing to take advantage of economically beneficial volume licensing and to mitigate risk of lapses in licenses.
  • Enhance staff development methods and approaches that enable the institute to adapt to changing conditions and anticipate changes (e.g., those related to security, new technologies, etc.).
  • Comply with applicable federal, HHS, NIH, and NIEHS policies and laws.

Implement Best Practices

word cloud focused on commodity
  • Use robust approaches to gather and prioritize business requirements, develop budget estimates, secure contracts and licenses, deploy solutions focused on user experience, ensure compatibility with existing architecture, and ensure timely patching and maintenance.
  • Develop the skills and capacity to manage commodity business computing acquisition and maintenance activities, according to project management standards and best practices.
  • Provide high-quality customer service and track customer satisfaction to facilitate continuous improvement, through I&IT staff and contracts.
  • Identify opportunities to streamline and consolidate commodity business computing, based on cost-benefits analysis, and foster collaboration for crosscutting needs.
  • Ensure commodity business computing systems are interoperable, if applicable.
  • Develop methods and practices to coordinate commodity business computing with the non-commodity software, data center, and related groups.
  • Implement standard metrics for measuring and assessing commodity business computing use.

Strategic Capability Priorities

Maintain an Accurate, Up-to-Date Inventory of Commodity Business Computing

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Man and woman looking at computer screenNIEHS will maintain a well-characterized inventory of commodity business computing software, hardware, systems, and devices. An accurate inventory is required for lifecycle management, to facilitate bulk purchasing and on-time license renewals, ensure appropriate and timely maintenance, define support requirements, ensure security and architecture compliance, support strategic business and technology planning, support out-year budgeting, and drive economies of scale. Success will be determined as inventories are in place, licenses do not lapse, hardware does not pass its end of service, demonstrated compliance with security and architecture, effective budgeting, and customer satisfaction.

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NIEHS will develop inventory profiles that map to the business owner and program, as well as the functional capabilities and mission domains. Adding this level of detail will allow the institute to create a comprehensive management structure for the entire inventory, and know nothing has been lost and everything can be included in an appropriate roadmap for budgeting. Success will be determined by the percentage of mapping of inventory items to profiles.

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NIEHS will review the commodity business computing inventory regularly to assess compliance with the approved architecture, and update or retire inventory items that do not conform. Review will ensure that assets conform to the architecture. The institute will keep the I&IT ecosystem healthy and right-sized by retiring or removing what is no longer used or presents an unacceptable security risk. Success will be determined by the rate of compliance.

Streamline Commodity Business Computing Purchasing

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abstract image of business desk with computer and papersNIEHS will establish and maintain purchasing guidelines that provide appropriate constraints, policies, processes, technical specifications, and contract vehicles for acquiring software, hardware, systems, and devices that are used for commodity business computing. Improved purchasing systems will promote cost savings, make purchasing more efficient, ensure proper acquisition management, prevent disallowed uses, and maintain as much flexibility as possible. Current lack of guidance creates inefficiencies, lost staff time, and unevenly administered policies. Success will be determined by readily available guidelines, as a communications plan is developed and implemented, and user satisfaction.

Maximize Commodity Business Computing Education and Training

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NIEHS will educate the community on the availability and capabilities of the current commodity systems inventory. Enhanced education will maximize the use of the inventory, increase staff productivity, and increase return on investment. Success will be determined by development and implementation of a communications plan and measurement of utilization.

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NIEHS will ensure regular training of users and business owners on the use of commodity software, hardware, systems, and devices. Training will maximize the use of the inventory, increase staff productivity, and increase return on investment. Success will be determined by regular needs assessment and related training.

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NIEHS will encourage the use of currently supported technology. Use of supported technologies will reduce costs and risks associated with bringing on new technologies. Success will be determined by development and implementation of a communications plan, the speed and effectiveness of development projects, and measured utilization.

Optimize Cloud-Based Commodity Systems Use

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NIEHS will increase cloud usage when purchasing commodity functionality. Cloud use enables a business model that can be more efficient because the Government pays for only what it uses. Cloud-based services typically cost less than the total cost of ownership of data center−hosted services. Reducing the data center footprint complies with federal data center consolidation goals. Success will be determined by use of cloud services with relevant data, comparing the total cost of ownership trajectory after moving to the cloud, and customer satisfaction.

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NIEHS will coordinate the use of PaaS and Software as a Service (SaaS) with other I&IT efforts, ITARG, and PMO. Increased coordination will ensure that the institute is purchasing cloud services that comply with federal policy for I&IT security and controls, planning cloud migrations effectively, and coordinating cloud strategy across NIEHS for economies of scale. Success will be determined by the percentage of compliance with policy that are managed as projects and conform to schedule and budgets, and with demonstrated economies of scale and cost savings (compare projected costs without PaaS/SaaS to actual costs with these services).

Provide Necessary Commodity Business Computing Staffing and Organization

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NIEHS will establish or verify organizational capacity to support commodity business computing goals and priorities. Organizational gaps currently put these capabilities at risk, while organizational support and leadership will ensure success. Success will be determined by demonstration that staff positions support these capabilities.

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NIEHS will ensure that commodity systems lifecycle management includes appropriate levels of federal project management. Project management practices are essential for lifecycle management. Project managers will be assigned sufficient resources and have authority to manage lifecycle successfully. Success will be determined by identification of project managers, understanding resource requirements, and as the backlog of noncompliant machines is reduced.

Commodity Business Computing Future-State Planning

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abstract image of hands holding up chatsNIEHS will develop and maintain a three-year plan for prioritized enterprise architecture changes in coordination with the ITARG and create standard parameters to prioritize commodity business computing. The institute will facilitate discussions of application transition and adoption as part of planning processes. NIEHS will develop a roadmap to rationalize its investment over the next three years in commodity business computing. Success will be determined as enterprise architecture changes are prioritized, planned, and well executed.

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NIEHS will establish procedures and opportunities to elaborate commodity business computing needs and requirements so they are serving the needs of users and stakeholders. Users will drive the requirements by articulating functional needs, so the institute invests in what is actually needed for mission success. I&IT providers cannot drive these requirements. Success will be determined by evaluating requirement definition processes and as commodity and non-commodity software procurements are coordinated to prevent gaps in service and access.

Enhance Commodity Business Computing Customer Service

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NIEHS will provide improved systems for I&IT staff to provide feedback on commodity business computing services. The institute will better understand how services are perceived and how users are experiencing services, to make continual process improvements. Success will be determined by enhanced effectiveness and user satisfaction, and the implementation of additional features in ServiceNow.

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NIEHS will analyze feedback, use it to improve service delivery, and report results back to the user community. The institute will better understand how commodity business computing services are perceived and how users are experiencing these services to make continual process improvements. Success will be determined as improvements are made and reports are provided to the community.

Commodity Business Computing Theme Map

I&IT Landscape Agility Analytics Communications & Transparency Foster Collaboration Governance Optimize Resources Workforce Development

Commodity Business Computing

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See Appendix A: I&IT Priorities Support NIEHS Strategic Themes

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