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US Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements
Office of Federal Student Aid

Functional Statements > Federal Student Aid

B. Technology

Technology has primary responsibility for promoting the effective use of technology to achieve FSA’s strategic objectives through sound technology planning and investments, integrated technology architectures and standards, effective systems development and production support. Technology core business functions and processes include:

In addition, the CIO front office also manages the integration of all business process re-engineering and systems implementations across the enterprise to ensure that the developed and deployed capabilities align with the enterprise business architecture and meet Federal Student Aid's performance goals. Integration activities include: developing and maintaining the enterprise vision, sequencing plan, and related integration artifacts and coordinating and tracking integration activities.

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APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT GROUP

Application Development Group is responsible for full life cycle development of mainframe and distributed applications for FSA, in support of the channels and functional areas. Provide a suite of online services and information to meet the specific needs and interests of the student financial aid community by using the technology of the Internet and other electronic functions and processes to reduce costs, cycle time, and paperwork. Identifying opportunities to develop innovative tools and services to improve customer service, reduce the overall cost of delivering student aid, and improve employee satisfaction. Specifically, Application Development:

  • Designs, tests, and implements computer systems to support the needs of the channels and functional areas.
  • Administers related databases to assure data integrity and reliability.
  • Manages and coordinates interagency projects.
  • Provides systems configuration management and change control.
  • Provides user training as part systems implementation and roll-out.
  • Coordinates the production installation of new applications into the target production operational environment.
  • Maintains systems documentation and procedural manuals in accordance with established standards and guidelines.
  • Provides the necessary resource, financial, and procurement planning to support the design and development of computer systems.
  • Manages special application development projects, as required to support FSA’s strategic objectives.
  • Provides leadership and direction for innovation activities.
  • Plans, develops, and implements internal quality control and productivity analysis.

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INFRASTRUCTURE OPERATIONS GROUP

Infrastructure Operations Group is responsible for providing enterprise-wide technology planning and oversight, development and maintenance of technology architecture, development and promulgation of technology standards, and providing the necessary processes and discipline to ensure that FSA is investing in and using information technology wisely. Infrastructure Operations performs the following major functions and activities in coordination with ED/CIO:

Technology Planning:

  • Develops and communicates a consolidated, consistent information technology vision and strategy for FSA.
  • Researches, analyzes, tests, and plans for the implementation of new techniques.
  • Provides expert analysis, advice, guidance, and support for the acquisition of technologies and technology related services.
  • Conducts in-depth research and analysis and forms partnerships with industry experts, other Federal agencies, and Departmental staff, to identify proven "best practice" processes and tools.
  • Facilitates the transition of proven tools and services to FSA customer Channels.
  • Keeps up-to-date with emerging technology and Internet trends and recognizes and acts on the implications of technological changes prior to and when they occur.

Technology Architecture:

  • Develops and maintains the FSA enterprise information technology architecture.
  • Works with Channels and functional areas to ensure the FSA architecture supports business requirements.
  • Provides enterprise-level configuration management.
  • Ensures new technologies comply with the established architecture and approve exceptions.
  • Provides expert analysis, advice, and guidance to Channels and functional areas in evaluating and selecting appropriate technologies to meet their business needs.

Technology Standards:

  • Defines information technology standards, principles, and protocols to ensure interoperability of technologies across FSA.
  • Evaluates and recommend technologies to be used in business solutions within channels and functional areas that are consistent with established standards and protocols.
  • Performs contract-related functions and monitor contractor performance as appropriate.  Develops and maintains overall web user interface standards.

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ENTERPRISE IT ARCHITECTURE & STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE GROUP

Enterprise IT Architecture & Strategic Infrastructure Group is responsible for planning, managing, operating, and maintaining FSA’s development, test, and production environment technical infrastructure, including the Virtual Data Center, and FSA internet and intranet infrastructure. Enterprise IT Architecture & Strategic Infrastructure performs the following major functions and activities in coordination with ED/OCIO:

FSA Web Master:

  • Coordinates content development with business areas owning the content.
  • Maintains the Internet and intranet sites and manages the change control process for implementing changes to the production environment.

Telecommunications:

  • Provides liaison with the Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer to ensure appropriate telecommunication services are provided to support program delivery.

Data Center:

Provides technical support associated with the Virtual Data Center, including:

  • Database management.
  • Security management.
  • Hardware and software support.
  • Configuration management and change control.
  • Systems training.
  • End-user technical support.

Operations & Scheduling:

  • Coordinates production job schedules across FSA major systems.
  • Provides system processing activities and production support to meet the needs of the Channels and functional areas (e.g., application processing, payment processing, loan servicing, consolidation, collections).
  • Develops operational policies and procedures for data processing activities.
  • Reviews and evaluates processing activities to ensure compliance with established standards.
  • Performs contract-related functions and monitor contractor performance for enterprise-wide systems.
  • Plans, develops, and implements internal quality control and productivity analysis.

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IT RISK MANAGEMENT GROUP

IT Risk Management Group is responsible for managing two critical functions that ensure the operational integrity of FSA operations:

  • Information Technology Security
  • Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Information Technology Security:

  • Security Privacy Oversight, Compliance and Training
  • Security Architecture
  • Information Assurance Monitoring and Cyber Cell
  • Information Security Operations
  • Security Risk Management and Metrics
  • Technology Risk Management

Business Continuity Planning Division:

  • Enterprise Disaster Recovery
  • Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP):

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Last Modified: 01/04/2011