Feb 25, 2017

The Sort Of Contract Battle That Mostly Stays Out Of Sight

From the minutes of a recent meeting of the Social Security Advisory Board (SSAB):

... In the morning session, the Board met with Robert Klopp, the Chief Information Officer and Deputy Commissioner for Systems at SSA, and John Garrigues, Chief Programs Officer for the SSA Disability Case Processing System (DCPS) development team. Mr. Klopp updated the Board on SSA’s in-house efforts to develop a second-generation disability case processing system (the DCPS2 project). The project was launched in fall 2015 after DCPS’s earlier efforts failed to produce a usable system. This effort, DCPS1, included a contract with Lockheed Martin. Mr. Klopp said that his office has conducted some early testing of DCPS2 with several state Disability Determination Services offices (DDSs). He reported that users found the system useful and intuitive. He acknowledged that, as yet, the system can support only quick disability determinations and compassionate allowance cases. Mr. Klopp said he expects the system to be able to handle about 50% of all cases by May 2017. Mr. Klopp also discussed a disability case processing and management system in development by MicroPact, a private company. MicroPact recently merged with Iron Data Solutions, a sub-contractor under Lockheed Martin on DCPS1.  
MicroPact has informed SSA that it is building a system for the DDSs and believes that its system will meet the needs of the individual DDSs better than the system being developed internally. Mr. Klopp said the MicroPact project was in its early stages of development. He also expressed the opinion that the MicroPact system does not yet have and may never have as broad a range of functionalities as he claims that DCPS2 will have. He expressed the view that MicroPact is selling its product to Congress before it is built through an intense lobbying effort. Mr. Klopp said that he is looking for a fair and independent evaluation of the two systems before one was chosen over the other. He also said that he believes that such an evaluation will be impossible until MicroPact has completed the first phase of development of its software, which Mr. Klopp said MicroPact projects to be complete in spring, 2017. 
In its afternoon session, the Board met with Tom Sechler, the Chief Executive Officer of MicroPact. Mr. Sechler explained to the Board that the current corporate structure of MicroPact was established in 2015, when the company merged with Iron Data Solutions, of which Mr. Sechler was CEO. Although Iron Data worked with Lockheed Martin on DCPS1, Mr. Sechler stated that Iron Data should not be held responsible for the failure of DCPS1, as the language in that contract limited Iron Data’s role in the project and precluded it from raising with SSA concerns Sechler said that Iron Data had with Lockheed’s management of the project. Iron Data is also the developer of the legacy disability case processing systems currently in use by 47 DDSs. Mr. Sechler said this experience gives his company an advantage over competitors, as staff at Iron Data understand DDS processes. Mr. Sechler said that MicroPact is currently investing in developing that system with its own funding. If SSA chooses to use their system, Mr. Sechler said that MicroPact would charge SSA only for installation and upkeep, which Mr. Sechler said would be less than SSA currently pays. Mr. Sechler hopes to prove to Congress that he has a system worth investing in and that a version of the software would be ready for use by April 2017. Mr. Sechler was asked directly whether he would support Mr. Klopp’s call for an independent evaluation of the two systems in the Spring of 2017 but did not say whether he does so.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Word is that former Republican Ways and Means staff director Kim Hildred is cheerleading for the Iron Mountain crew. Is this true?

Anonymous said...

3:57 - correct Iron Mountain to Iron Data

Anonymous said...

"Iron Data is also the developer of the legacy disability case processing systems currently in use by 47 DDSs."

That is a pretty significant leg up on the problem.

Anonymous said...

Iron Data apparently has used its position as the developer of the "legacy" system to gouge/fleece the government.

Anonymous said...

these people don't give a damn about the claimants. they just want the big bucks.

Anonymous said...

Not sure that it is a claim to fame that they are the developer of the existing system, but it is clear that they have had a virtual monopoly that clearly is in danger if the government puts in place a competitor. Given the customers are state agencies in support of a federal program, it makes sense to have a way to do business in case the company goes out of business. Funny how the threat of being replaced energized them to propose upgrades. Seems like a political solution is being asked for for what should be a technical solution.

Anonymous said...

For 1:00 AM, February 26, 2017;

I wonder who you are referring to, Iron Data or the Klopp team that has worked on DCPS2 (aka the agile approach). What they call DCPS2 is in reality not the second try at DCPS but the sixth try. Ask them about that when you are talking about funding.

Storm said...

In August of 2016 MicroPact approached SSA about a product update they had been developing for the DDSs that use their legacy products (Iron Data St. Louis and Toronto). They shared that they were ready to begin migrating the current legacy system software being used in forty-seven states to a modern, web based platform that they call Disability Case Manager (DCM). MicroPact presented a short demo of the product to a small group of executives and MicroPact released an announcement to the forty-seven states that use their current legacy products.

Anybody want to know more?????

Anonymous said...

@ 1:00 AM ... Nobody cares for the Claimant but the Claimant and family. The system, reps agency and "judges" don't care, it is a career and money for all of them, the benefits are a side effect.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily true 9:49

Anonymous said...

Yes Storm, we want to know more. If Micropact has a new DCM product, how come nobody has seen it? We haven't seen it at the DDSs, we've seen emails that talk about it, but no modern, web based platform has raised its head.

Storm said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yes Storm, we want to know more. If Micropact has a new DCM product, how come nobody has seen it? We haven't seen it at the DDSs, we've seen emails that talk about it, but no modern, web based platform has raised its head.
____________________________________________

ask SSA why you haven't seen it or contact Micropact directly and ask for a demo.