FY 2000 Strategic Plan Goal #3
FLRA Strategic Plan Goal 3:
To maintain FLRA's internal systems and processes to support a continually improving, highly effective and efficient organization with the flexibility to meet program needs.
Summary: In order to accomplish FLRA Strategic Planning Goal 3, FLRA established four performance goals in its FY 2000 Annual Performance Plan. The FLRA exceeded one of these performance goals, fully met two goals, and substantially met one goal.
The four performance goals focused on: 1) achieving Year 2000 (Y2K) compliance for the entire agency information infrastructure and office facilities on or before January 1, 2000; 2) maintaining an updated information infrastructure; 3) developing and testing an FLRA web site search capability for FLRA decisions; and 4) maintaining and further refining an integrated agency-wide case management system.
Significant progress was made in support of the FLRA commitment to maintain sound internal systems and processes, primarily through information technology improvements. Specifically, FLRA successfully and effectively transitioned all of its computers, computer networks and facilities into the new millennium without encountering any Y2K software-related operational problems. FLRA continued replacing its workstations according to an agency-wide life cycle management plan while implementing other improvements such as installing upgraded electronic mail servers and purchasing faster switching hardware. FLRA also implemented a search capability on its web site and significantly increased the number of decisions available to the public in an improved electronic format. In addition, FLRA designed and implemented significant database systems, which permitted for the first time the collection of information concerning its agency-wide alternative disputes resolution activities.
FLRA relies heavily on its technology to perform a number of critical functions. These include: 1) producing case decisions and other work products; 2) providing electronic research capabilities to agency staff and the Federal labor relations community through the FLRA web site; 3) providing electronic communications to agency staff, including remote access to agency information; 4) monitoring, measuring and reporting on the status of workload; 5) projecting workload trends through the use of computer models; and 6) measuring performance. The FLRA commitment and investment in technology will continue to be reflected in performance goals for FY 2001 and FY 2002.
The following describes the specific results related to each of the four FY 2000 performance goals.
Performance Goal: Ensure that all FLRA hardware, software, systems, peripherals, and office facilities are Year 2000 compliant on or before January 1, 2000. Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.
Performance Analysis: This goal was fully met. The plan to achieve this goal was developed and implemented by the IRM Division staff, in close coordination with program offices and the Budget and Finance Division, and assistance and advice from the FLRA Technology Committees.
Every aspect of the FLRA Year 2000 (Y2K) Remediation Plan was completed on time. This included assessment of workstation, server and embedded chip Y2K vulnerabilities; upgrade and testing of servers, workstations, and telephone and voice mail systems; development and implementation of new automated case tracking systems; review of extensive programming code in all case management systems; and liaison with building managers in locations where FLRA occupies space to obtain Y2K certifications for all facilities. In addition, FLRA completed an independent verification and validation of changed programming code and an agency-wide Day One test of all automated information resources to ensure compliance.
By completing the FLRA Y2K remediation plan on schedule, the agency was able to use the FLRA information infrastructure without interruption. The tests conducted on January 1, 2000, all resulted in documented verification of uninterruptible services. There were no significant follow-on problems throughout the month of January 2000 or thereafter. The project's timely completion had a very positive impact on the FLRA's ability to fulfill all aspects of its mission because FLRA staff had full access to its information infrastructure throughout the period. The additional resources required, including an FY 1999 supplemental appropriation, were clearly worth the resulting continuity of operations agency-wide. While there is no hard data to verify it, the impact of having the FLRA web site available to the public without interruption was also clearly a positive benefit to the Federal labor relations community and the public.
Performance Goal: Upgrade agency infrastructure, including hardware and software, in accordance with agency life cycle management plan. Actual Performance: Substantially Met the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.
Performance Analysis: This goal was substantially met. The plan to achieve this goal was developed and implemented by the IRM Division staff, with assistance and advice from program offices and the agency Technology Committees.
In order to accomplish this goal, 25% of the agency's workstations were to be replaced, Regional Office servers were to be replaced, other servers upgraded and higher-speed switches purchased. As a result of the infrastructure upgrades, the agency's information technology was able to meet its operational needs with a high level of performance from all agency servers. All of these tasks were completed, however, only 18% of the agency's workstations were replaced, while 7% remained at the end of the fiscal year due to lack of funds. These purchases will be funded and equipment will be replaced in FY 2001.
Performance Goal: Develop and test FLRA web site capability to search FLRA decisions. Actual Performance: Exceeded the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.
Performance Analysis: This goal was exceeded. The plan to achieve this goal was developed and implemented by the IRM Division staff, with assistance and advice from program offices and the agency Technology Committees.
Development and extensive testing of a web site capability to search FLRA decisions were conducted and completed ahead of schedule. Accordingly, the agency was able to achieve this goal by the end of the first quarter (December 1999). As a result, a far more comprehensive research system with easier access was available to the public earlier than originally anticipated.
Because of this early project completion, additional FLRA decisions were added to the web site by the end of FY 2000. FLRA decisions from April 1991 to the present became available in the more accessible format, replacing an older bulletin board system for downloading decisions. At the end of FY 2000, decisions from January 1979 through June 1987 were near completion and ready for uploading to the FLRA web site simultaneously with other significant upgrades to the site planned for October 2000. As a result, FLRA is well positioned to provide all of its decisions in an easy access, fully searchable mode within another six months, fully a year ahead of original projections.
Success of this project will assist FLRA training efforts by providing a method for the parties to access our decisions and conduct on-line electronic research concerning topics and issues that may be involved in labor-management discussions or disputes. Providing this information to the labor relations community "at their fingertips" will assist them in their handling of disputes, and provide information to assist in informal dispute resolution. To date, the feedback received via the web site has been very positive concerning this capability.
Performance Goal: Maintain, and further refine, a fully integrated agency-wide case management system that provides accurate case tracking and reporting, and critical workload measurement of agency program activities. Actual Performance: Met the Goal -- as described below in Performance Analysis.
Performance Analysis: This goal was met. The plan to achieve this goal was developed and implemented by the IRM Division staff, contractors and FLRA program offices.
In order to accomplish this performance goal, the FLRA developed and implemented an action plan to: 1) develop new systems in the Office of Solicitor; 2) develop a comprehensive Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) Services database system to collect all FY 2000 (and beyond) activities; and 3) revise the Office of the General Counsel case numbering system to avoid duplicate numbering after FY 2000. An action plan was also developed to complete the initial stages of an integrated case tracking project. This will be completed in FY 2001.
During the year, FLRA successfully upgraded and replaced Office of Solicitor systems so that there was no down time or data loss resulting from the Y2K software problem. The agency-wide ADR Services database system was developed and fully operational with FY 2000 data by the end of the year. The Office of the General Counsel case numbering system was fully deployed to avoid duplicate numbering, and the integrated case tracking system project's initial steps of gathering and analyzing requirements set forth by the program offices were also accomplished.
By completing these tasks, the FLRA has placed all of its case tracking and program-related databases on one platform for the first time in the agency's history. This permits an easier method for retrieving data across the agency. FLRA was further able to launch a project to bring a much higher level of integration and accessibility to the agency's data for FLRA staff in need of it. Once the higher level of integration is achieved, the agency will experience moderate to significant administrative efficiencies and better tools to reduce the delivery time for some services. Completion of this intermediate step positions the agency to better share its information resources in the future. The agency ADR activities, in particular, benefitted from completion of these projects, and setbacks due to Y2K problems and case numbering deficiencies were avoided.
FLRA performance goals for FY 2001 and FY 2002 will continue to focus on maintaining and further refining the agency case tracking system to ensure accurate case tracking and reporting and critical workload measurements of agency program activities. Already underway is an initiative to commonly define and share data across the agency which will simplify data base management, improve data validity of the data and make information more readily available to staff.