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Network News

May 2023
Volume 23, Number 5

From the CIO:

Robert Osmond, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth
CIO Robert Osmond

Welcome to May, and the celebration of the culmination of our messaging migration project.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) migrated last week from Google to Microsoft, the final Commonwealth agency to do so, and it was an amazing effort. Close to 10,000 accounts were moved, and dozens of lessons learned from previous migrations of other state agencies were applied to provide the best preparation, tracking and go-live experiences possible for our customers. Everyone involved did a tremendous job, and it was as close to perfect as it gets! We’ll share more about the VDOT migration below. 

Another major initiative that we’re still working on is network modernization. While we are making progress to transform our network to a modern software-defined environment (SD-WAN), we are ramping up resources and staff support to accelerate this effort. Our goal is to increase network capacity to 1,000% across the Commonwealth, and we are committed to helping our customers meet their own connectivity goals. We look forward to partnering more with our customer agencies so that we can drive digital transformation at a faster pace, and ensure you have the capabilities you need.

Next, we're talking cyber. We are upping our cyber game in a big way in Virginia. With investments from the Virginia General Assembly, and with the Secretary of Administration’s office chipping in, we are applying that funding to our whole environment, and continuously improving our cybersecurity posture. You’ll hear more about that from our Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Michael Watson in the coming weeks. The VITA team is preparing to launch a new way to share cyber-related news and updates, so please keep an eye out for more.

Finally, next week, May 8-12, is Virginia Public Service Week, when we honor our employees’ service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are so thankful for our team members’ commitment and partnership as we work to keep people in Virginia connected and protected.


Robert Osmond, CIO of the Commonwealth

The final Commonwealth agency - the Virginia Department of Transportation - transitions to Microsoft in the messaging migration project

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s messaging migration project just hit a major milestone, with the final executive branch agency – the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) -- moving from Google to the Microsoft platform at the end of April. 

Catherine Beach is VITA’s customer account manager (CAM) for VDOT and says months of intensive planning made it all possible. “VDOT has nine districts and thousands of users that have unique needs. Together with our VITA team, VDOT assembled an agency migration support team to help prepare. We met with NTT DATA, our messaging migration services supplier, weekly since February to make sure all bases were covered and ensure a smooth transition.” 

"VITA and VDOT were true partners in delivering this new communication and collaboration technology. From planning, through execution and delivery, we were one team. On day one after migration, we stood shoulder-to-shoulder in person, and provided unprecedented responsiveness to the employees of VDOT," said VDOT's Chief Information Officer (CIO) Lynn Hadden.

In all, the project shifted core messaging services for 69 Virginia agencies and more than 72,475 user accounts, with the CAMs playing a pivotal role in the process. “We’re staying involved, connecting the dots, being responsive and available when our agencies need us,” said Beach. “We’ve answered questions, scheduled meetings and made sure our agencies felt supported and comfortable before, during and after their migration.” 

Deadline reminder: please implement the new Commonwealth branding bar by June 30

As a reminder, all Commonwealth of Virginia agencies should implement the updated branding bar/banner on all public-facing websites including interior pages and application login screens by Friday, June 30. 

The banner is available with either a black background and white logo, or a white background with dark blue logo. Agencies may use the option that works best with their existing website.

Additionally, the website modernization team is holding office hours to help with your website accessibility questions every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m. These sessions are meant to provide guidance to specific website accessibility issues identified by attendees, and to share tips and tricks about Siteimprove and accessibility, in general. Agencies not currently using Siteimprove are also welcome.

Please email for meeting details.

Save the date for the 2023 Commonwealth of Virginia Information Security Conference  

The 2023 Commonwealth of Virginia Information Security (IS) Conference will be held on Aug. 17, 2023, at the Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa/Short Pump at 12042 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23233. 

The theme for this year’s in-person conference is Revolutionizing IS through advanced thinking: unleashing the power of AI. Join us for a day of thought-provoking discussions and networking opportunities with industry experts! 

Visit the VITA website for more information.  

VITA employees graduate from the agency's inaugural Leadership Development Program

Twenty VITA employees recently graduated from the first class of the agency’s Leadership Development Program (LDP), which builds leadership skills – offering personalized training and established leadership pathways for diverse talent.

Dena Washington is VITA’s culture, diversity, equity and inclusion leader. 

“It has been an amazing experience, witnessing the participants engage in the development program that I had the opportunity to assist in creating,” said Washington. 

“The engagement, sharing of knowledge and the feedback have been great.” 

Washington says the program shows VITA is committed to developing VITA team members as leaders, and is also a driving force in agency recruitment and retention efforts. “We are excited about the preparation of the second cohort of the LDP. There will be some exciting new enhancements to the next session.” 

Coming soon: Enterprise forms project

VITA and the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) are excited to share that they have teamed up on an enterprise forms (eForms) initiative to automate the state employee telework form. The goal of this joint partnership was to streamline a paper form requiring multiple levels of approval signatures through workflow automation.

The telework form, used by classified employees subject to the state telework policy, is in the pilot phase and expected soon. More information and learning sessions are being planned and will be shared in the coming weeks! 

Requests for proposals: managed public cloud services

VITA has posted a request for proposals (RFP) for managed public cloud services. The announcement is available online, just search for the words "managed public cloud services."

A list of recommended agency representatives is being finalized to include in the RFP team; the team is responsible for developing requirements and evaluating supplier responses. This RFP will follow all procurement standards and confidentiality requirements.

Commonwealth of Virginia agencies' information technology strategic plans (ITSP) for the 2024-2026 biennium are due June 30

With agency information technology strategic plans (ITSP) due on June 30, VITA is launching a new Rx ITSP prescriptive analysis process to provide a report that will serve as a foundation for agencies to build their ITSP for completion. 

Agencies will receive a prescribed plan with recommendations which may be included in the final ITSP. 

Commonwealth of Virginia learning opportunity: Microsoft - Modern Work

Registration is now open for agencies to participate in a free Microsoft - Modern Work learning opportunity on May 9 hosted by VITA and sponsored in coordination with Microsoft.   

As agencies have now transitioned from Google to Microsoft, it is important for users to understand the powerful tools that are offered from our Microsoft Commonwealth partner, and how to begin utilizing them effectively every day. Registration is required. Led by Microsoft trainers, this live virtual event will be recorded and shared.