Pressure to deliver apps to teleworkers taught State Department a few things, CIO says

The coronavirus pandemic forced the State Department to get faster at putting productivity and collaboration tools in the hands of employees so they could do crucial work like preparing response plans to global events, CIO Stuart McGuigan said Wednesday.

The department’s Bureau of Information Resource Management had to adjust to delivering, in many cases, the minimum viable product needed so people could work, McGuigan said. Although the department is used to networking its facilities around the globe, setting up tools for teleworking employees was a new challenge.

State had spent the months prior to the pandemic ensuring its entire staff had cloud access, so many core communications capabilities were already in place. But adding a layer of “scores of applications” was another process entirely, McGuigan said during the AFCEA Bethesda 2020 Tech Summit.

“We had this existential demand that the longer we took to provide access to these applications, the longer people were unable to work at all,” he said.

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