IRS RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION: NTA recommendation not adopted as written, but IRS actions taken to address issues raised by the NTA. The IRS has taken efforts and is continuing to engage stakeholders and other federal partners in developing the ECM solution. The IRS agrees with the essence of the NTA’s recommendation to develop ECM solutions with users in mind, engaging employees throughout the process, and developing a solution to facilitate more efficient, standard business processes. Throughout the development of the ECM solution, the IRS is engaging employees in the process from participating in key governance forums to identifying requirements to creating an ECM communications plan that will provide channels for employees to share ideas and suggestions.
The IRS’s ECM Program is focused on developing standardized, common ECM solutions that will meet the diverse needs of the IRS this may involve using several platforms to accommodate the requirements of dozens of business units. Building on the precepts of the IRS Future State, the ECM Program engaged with IRS stakeholders to develop a program-specific vision and set of design principles that guides the development of solutions to enhance employee productivity and improve the taxpayer experience. It is also essential to create IT systems that are efficient, scalable, and maintainable over time. The ECM vision specifically highlights the importance of empowering employees to rapidly resolve cases, providing top quality service to taxpayers, and upholding the fair administration of tax law.
Collaborating with key stakeholders, the ECM Program will develop an Enterprise ECM Strategic Roadmap that will outline the desired end state capabilities. Through the development of this roadmap, impacted IT and business stakeholders including TAS will be engaged to provide inputs on their desired business capabilities and functions. The process of engaging IT and business stakeholders is still in development, but this process will be an integral part of developing the Enterprise ECM Strategic Roadmap, which will in turn drive the development of the ECM solution. For the development of ECM, IT intends to use a federated delivery team structure to guide the ECM solution this collaboration model includes the business customers, IT ECM program management office, and IT service delivery partners on an integrated team that works in partnership on a daily basis.
The ECM vision and design principles, the Enterprise ECM Strategic Roadmap, and the federated delivery team are three examples of how the IRS is committed to supporting an integrated, inclusive approach for the ECM solution and to improving IRS operations. Throughout the ECM Program, the IRS will continue to engage with employees as a more efficient ECM solution is developed to provide quality customer service to taxpayers.
CORRECTIVE ACTION: N/A
TAS RESPONSE: The National Taxpayer Advocate applauds the IRS for its inclusive ECM approach and for reaching out to federal agencies as part of the ECM development process. However, she believes the IRS should engage all of its front-line employees, unit by unit, and ask them, through town halls and working groups, what they specifically need to more effectively and efficiently do their jobs and serve taxpayers. The IRS can then identify tasks or capabilities that are general or common, and those that are specific to particular business functions. This is a critical step to building an ECM system that will maximize employee productivity and creating efficiencies that will benefit both the IRS and taxpayers.
The National Taxpayer Advocate is concerned because it appears the IRS may be exploring general ECM capabilities, and require business functions to adapt to those capabilities, rather than designing the ECM system around the business functions and the needs of its employees. The National Taxpayer Advocate believes that the IRS can both find out what is on the ECM product market (as products have identified general capabilities) and also determine the specific needs of its employees. The benefit of reaching out directly to all front-line employees and collating and tracking their responses, is that it will enable the IRS to identify deficiencies in its current business practices, and modify them appropriately, prior to moving forward with the programming of a new ECM system. It may be the case that some IRS business practices are driven by limited technology, in which case it can plan a change to business practices at the same time it implements new ECM technology. When TAS went through the TASIS design process, TAS learned about employee technology needs by holding dedicated town hall or workgroup meetings. TAS asked all its employees what they needed to perform their jobs efficiently, recorded their proposals and “wish lists” for capabilities, and then considered and tracked them in the development of the business requirements to see what, if anything, we could do to address them.
ADOPTED, PARTIALLY ADOPTED or NOT ADOPTED: Partially Adopted
OPEN or CLOSED: Closed
DUE DATE FOR ACTION (if left open): N/A