Creating a Business Analysis Office to Serve Virginia Citizens

The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) is one of the largest Commonwealth agencies, partnering with 120 local departments of social services, with a mission of ensuring the well-being of children and families statewide. VDSS responsibilities include adoption, foster care, child protective services, child support enforcement, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Energy Assistance Program, eligibility for Medicaid, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, the Refugee Resettlement Program, community action agencies, and the licensing of adult living facilities. Child support is supported by state staff, with funding and oversight provided by VDSS to 31 community action agencies. To provide a consistent and user-friendly experience to citizens, VDSS required an agile methodology platform for business analysts (BAs) and IT staff to collaborate and identify subject matter experts across citizen programs and provide system support for existing technologies.

Mission-critical priority

With $90M in funding for social services, VDSS required a modern solution for gathering requirements and a standardized documenting approach when launching priority initiatives. The Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) methodology was identified as a model that could be used to create a Business Analysis Office (BAO) framework. With no examples of modern implementations for U.S. state agencies, VDSS needed to create the BAO from the ground up to meet the appetite of Virginia citizens driving modern systems.

How Gartner helped

Gartner was an independent voice for the VDSS team through the planning and execution stages. 

  • With Gartner research and analyst insight, VDSS launched an innovative BAO framework that is breaking new ground for the U.S. state's digital transformation strategy, creating an optimal digital user experience across the state for all citizens.
  • VDSS gathered 2,000+ requirements needed to build a framework.
  • VDSS trained and certified staff for their respective industry certifications in accordance with the International Institute for Business Analysis (IIBA) trade group.
  • Gartner guided VDSS through the process of business analysis using a combination of people, process and technology to manage the business analysis activities that flow into the PMO.
  • VDSS created a consistent approach for 22 BAs functioning under a single office and manager, regardless of project.

Business impact

  • Lowered risk for implementation of projects and keeping projects within cost constraints
  • Expedited timeline for projects with streamlined requirements and documentation established by BAO
  • Lowered cost and time for allocations
  • Increased customer engagement and satisfaction
  • Transparent deliverables and time frames during vendor reviews that align with VDSS capabilities
  • Improved succession planning for VDSS BAs

“The BAO staff encompasses a broad range of skills, tools, and techniques which allow us to customize our approach for each Business Portfolio.”  - Deepa Harsh

U.S. State Social Services

175 IT Professionals

Roland Rivera | Deputy Commissioner for Technology and CIO

Deepa Harsh | BAO Manager

Achieve your mission-critical priorities with Gartner for IT Leaders

The value of having a company like Gartner is — there’s no bias; it’s completely objective — whereas when we talk to other partners, you know they’re going to be focused on particular products or services.

Roland Rivera

Deputy Commissioner for Technology and CIO, Virginia Department of Social Services

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