When the USDA Charge Card Service Center sought to upgrade to the newest generation of its payment solution, it contracted with Christine Dunbar and the consultants at ROCIMG to help manage the transition. Together, the team crafted a comprehensive change management plan to facilitate the implementation of the new technology, addressing the needs of three major federal charge card programs and 15,000 cardholders within USDA.
ROC Implementation & Management Group (ROCIMG), Inc. is a business strategy, cybersecurity, and information technology (IT) consulting company committed to helping its clients and its people achieve new levels of performance excellence. Founded in 2013 and based in Gaithersburg, Md., ROCIMG serves organizations in the federal, state, public, and private sectors.
Overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Procurement Systems Division (PSD), the Charge Card Service Center (CCSC) is responsible for managing the USDA purchase and fleet card programs. The purchase card program enables users throughout USDA to use charge cards for all official federal micro-purchases, while the fleet card program is used for purchasing fuel, maintenance and/or repairs for any USDA-owned or leased vehicle. The CCSC also works in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), which oversees the USDA travel charge card program.
The CCSC is supported by the General Services Administration’s (GSA) SmartPay Program, which provides integrated payment solutions for agencies across the federal government.
In 2018, the CCSC issued a task order with GSA to upgrade to the newest generation of the SmartPay solution, SmartPay 3. Before making the transition, CCSC needed to develop and issue a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit new SmartPay vendors. Preparing the RFP would require gaining consensus among stakeholders across all three charge card programs – purchase, fleet, and travel – as well as the senior leaders within USDA, GSA, and OCFO to make sure the needs and priorities of all involved were adequately addressed in the initial procurement documents. Once a new vendor was chosen, a detailed implementation plan would need to be designed to guide the migration to SmartPay 3. Coordination with charge card program leaders, the bank card providers (US Bank and Citi/WEX), and the technology teams would be required throughout the process to ensure all 15,000 cardholders, drivers, and travel cardholders within USDA received new cards and documentation by January 1, 2019, without experiencing any disruption in service.
Given the complexity of the SmartPay upgrade and the number of stakeholders involved, Veronica Nelson, Chief of Procurement Systems Division and Charge Card Service Center, USDA, thought it best to bring in additional project management support. She reached out to Christine Dunbar, president of ROCIMG, who had worked with CCSC on previous projects.
“Christine was familiar with the environment and the stakeholders, and she knew what needed to be done to help us meet our goals,” says Nelson. “ROCIMG helped us with the initial solicitation with GSA to transition from SmartPay 2 to SmartPay 3, setting up our transition plan, recruiting people to sit on the requirements team, and doing all the necessary communication to the stakeholders. She and her team did a great job in ensuring we met our timeline with GSA.”
To begin the project, Dunbar and the ROCIMG team spent time interviewing senior leaders within USDA, CCSC, GSA, and OCFO to make sure they clearly understood all the requirements and goals that needed to be addressed within the RFP. They then documented those requirements and submitted them for verification and approval from all parties. Once that report became final, it was used by the USDA’s contracting officers to prepare the necessary procurement documents and select a SmartPay vendor.
Once the acquisition was made, ROCIMG got to work designing a detailed change management plan to complete the SmartPay 3 implementation. The team held multiple meetings with the bank card providers (US Bank and Citi/WEX), which provides the electronic system used for establishing and managing the purchase, travel and fleet card programs and accounts, to determine each step of the implementation. ROCIMG also worked with the USDA’s National Finance Center team to test the technology behind the scenes, making sure the interface was in good working order and could handle the migration to the new platform without difficulty. And once finalized, ROCIMG handed its change management plan over to the CCSC operations team to complete the implementation.
By January 1, 2019, ROCMG had successfully and efficiently facilitated the process to enable CCSC and all three charge card programs to migrate to SmartPay 3. All 15,000 cardholders, drivers and travel cardholders received their new cards and documentation on time, without any disruption in service.
“ROCIMG came up with our project schedule and kept upper management informed along the way with bi-weekly, and then weekly progress reports. Everything was done to perfection, and the program has worked successfully,” says Nelson. She also says Dunbar’s attention to detail and rapport with customers have made ROCIMG a trusted USDA partner.
“I have known Christine for quite some time, and whenever I have a requirement, ROCIMG comes to mind because of the tremendous work her team does and the excellent customer service they provide,” she says. “Christine thinks very strategically, and she’s able to listen and understand your needs. If she sees a potential risk, she lets you know in advance and tries to prevent any roadblocks as you try to reach your goals. She always gives good, solid advice. I appreciate the quality of her work and I can tell she takes pride in it, as it shows in the deliverables.”