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IT Modernization Projects

PBGC embarks on IT modernization initiatives to improve meeting our PBGC Strategic Goals of:

  • Preserve plans and protect pensions of covered workers and retirees
  • Pay pension benefits on time and accurately
  • Maintain high standards of stewardship and accountability

The outcomes of these initiatives stabilize and advance underlying technology, strengthen cybersecurity and privacy, streamline processes, enhance user experience, and provide high-quality service to plan sponsors, workers and retirees. Below are highlights of top-priority IT initiatives deemed significant enough to warrant public awareness by the CIO as part of the Executive Management Committee, that are post budget decisional, not procurement-sensitive, and do not include classified or personally identifiable related information:

Benefit Calculation and Valuation (BCV) Phase 3:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost Target Completion
BCV Phase 3 Yes FY2021 $8,500,000.00* On budget Q2 FY2023 On Schedule

What are we doing and why?

In BCV Phase 3, PBGC intends to improve customer service by providing online estimate capability for participants and enhance the security of BCV applications by reducing the use of Social Security Numbers.  Additionally, PBGC will modernize the following BCV component-functionalities: benefit statement design, actuarial calculation functions and data transfer capabilities.  These modernization efforts will provide a foundation for enabling expanded customer self-service, enhance data security, improve ease of use, improve data integrity and ensure consistency and accuracy of calculations.

* Represents rounded implementation costs only; Infrastructure costs such as hosting, licensing, etc. are not included.

CIO Comments

The BCV Phase 3 project will continue to improve the underlying technology, data security, and system interfaces, resulting in efficient internal PBGC operations and further enhance online customer service for the participants we serve.

Transition to IPv6:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost Target Completion
Transition to IPv6 No FY2022 $450,000.00 On budget Q2 FY2025 On Schedule

What are we doing and why?

In order to establish a modern and scalable network infrastructure and to ensure compliance with OMB memo M-21-07, "Completing the Transition to Internet Protocol Version 6 (1Pv6)", PBGC will updates its infrastructure hardware and configuration to transition from IPv4 to IPv6. No later than FY2023, all new networked Federal information systems at PBGC will be IPv6-enabled at the time of deployment, and PBGC’s intent is to phase out the use of IPv4 for all systems by FY2025 to the extent possible and practical.

CIO Comments

The transition to IPv6 will allow PBGC to take advantage of the benefits inherent in this new protocol like simplified routing, flow labeling, built-in authentication and more. This change will be transparent, i.e. have no impact to PBGC customers.

ONR-OGC Case Management Modernization:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost Target Completion
ONR-OGC Case Management Modernization Yes FY2020 $7,950,000.00* On budget FY2023 On Schedule

What are we doing and why?

This project implements a Case/Legal Management System (CLMS) to modernize and replace the existing Risk and Early Warning Management (RMEW) and Legal Edge for Windows (LEW) systems. These systems currently are used within the Office of Negotiations and Restructuring (ONR) and the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to manage cases/legal matters and to provide document management and workflow functionality. The existing COTS solutions have reached end-of-service-life, are heavily customized and require significant effort to maintain. To address these challenges, the project will migrate the existing capabilities to a new, modernized solution that will be based in the Microsoft Azure Cloud environment, maximize COTS functionality, and utilize Microsoft Dynamics for core business functionality.

* Represents implementation costs only; Infrastructure costs such as hosting, licensing, etc. are not included and are part of enterprise costs.

CIO Comments

This project continues PBGC’s migration of mission critical applications to the Microsoft Azure Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics environments, replacing highly customized legacy systems with configurable solutions. This will improve PBGC operational efficiency through better data capture management and use.

CRM Modernization:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost
Projected                     Actual     
 Completion
Target          Actual
Customer Relationship Management Modernization  Yes FY2019 $6,400,000* $12,425,800* Q2 FY2021 Q4 FY2021

What are we doing and why?

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is used by PBGC’s Participant Services Department (PSD) to track customer interactions and provide a consistent means of service. In addition, PBGC also offers the My Pension Benefit Access (MyPBA) system, a secure web application that is used by its participants to conduct benefit related transactions online. The current technologies used for the CRM and MyPBA systems are getting obsolete, which limits PSD’s abilities in providing highly efficient services and in keeping up with the latest technology and security trends. In order to address the current challenges with CRM and MyPBA systems, PBGC has selected MS Dynamics 365 hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud as its new platform to modernize its CRM solution. The CRM modernization is targeted to enhance customer experience through streamlining current business processes and functions; implementing a more user-friendly and intuitive online interface; integration with the modernized telephony infrastructure while mitigating the overall security risk.

* Represents implementation costs only; Infrastructure costs such as hosting, licensing, etc. are not included and are part of enterprise costs.

CIO Comments

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) effort will improve the online customer experience and through integration with PBGCs new phone system will provide customers with additional means to get what they need simpler and faster. In addition to providing a simpler more intuitive customer interfaces the new CRM solution will provide increased security for customer data using simple but effective two factor authentication. 

The modernized CRM, now called Quick Easy Secure Transparent (QuEST), the new My Pension Benefit Access (MyPBA) with Multi Factor Authentication, and 13 complex interfaces went live in Q4 FY2021 on July 19, 2021 with Hypercare ending on September 30, 2021.  The planning cost and target completion were based on simply replacing the current systems with existing interfaces.  As the project unfolded, Office of Benefits Administration identified changes to existing interfaces to address current process gaps, changes to the system of record for Customer and Payment data, extended time for User Acceptance Testing for a thorough end-to-end testing with defect corrections, and schedule around payment cycles.  While these were necessary for OBA to provide better customer service to the retirees, it increased complexity, technical challenges with the new infrastructure, and integration with the new Login.Gov service, thus resulting in delayed completion and additional costs.  PBGC is continuing to evaluate MyPBA Login options for those retirees eligible for an online account but cannot use their state-issued id to register successfully through Login.Gov.  During the Hypercare period, PBGC worked diligently to address post-production issues, customer outreach communications, and providing help through the Customer Call Center.  Overall, given the complexities involved in this project, it was a success while PBGC continues to make improvements to our customers’ experience using online services.

MyPAA Modernization:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost
Projected                     Actual     
 Completion
Target          Actual
My Plan Administration Account Replacement Yes FY2019 $4,850,000.00* $5,200,000* Q2 FY2021 Q3 FY2021

What are we doing and why?

My Plan Administration Account (My PAA) is a secure web-based custom application that enables pension plan practitioners (e.g., plan administrators, plan sponsors, actuaries, and consultants) for over 25,000 defined benefit plans to electronically sign and submit the annual Comprehensive Premium Filings (premium filings) and associated payments to PBGC. This project is to implement a modern replacement for the legacy custom developed My PAA application which was placed into service in 2004. The replacement solution is based on two key Oracle COTS software components, Oracle Intelligent Advisor and Oracle Service Cloud, and will be externally hosted in Oracle’s Cloud platform. This solution will enable configurable front-end business rules, user interactions, and integration with other applications that can be changed more easily and quickly; enable processing power to be scaled to accommodate peak premium filing periods; enable PBGC to offer additional user-friendly and self-service features and capabilities to enhance the filing experience for practitioners; and better support evolving IT security requirements.

* Represents implementation costs only; Infrastructure costs such as hosting, licensing, etc. are not included.

CIO Comments

The My Plan Administration Account (MyPAA) upgrade benefits both the customer and PBGC. Customers will benefit from a modern, more intuitive interface that will offer self-service features to enhance the premium filing process for practitioners. PBGC will benefit from the ability to adapt more quickly to changes in policy and more quickly implement required changes to the MyPAA application. 

This project was completed in its entirety in early Q3 FY2021 on April 25, 2021. A slight delay and a small amount of additional cost was necessary to extend User Acceptance Testing for a thorough end-to-end testing with defect corrections and scheduling around potential impact to the practitioner community based on normal premium filing due dates.  From a results standpoint, the project has been a success with the system performing well during the 2021 Premium Peak Filing season.

BCV Modernization – Phase 1:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost
Projected                     Actual     
 Completion
Target          Actual
BCV Phase 1 Yes FY2019 $7,800,000* $7,045,189.20 Q4 FY2020 Q4 FY2020

What are we doing and why?

Benefit and Valuation Calculation (BCV) is a group of components used by the PBGC to determine benefits for participants, beneficiaries and alternate payees and is used by benefit administrators to calculate actual retirement benefits. BCV is also used to calculate corporate liabilities for the pension plans that PBGC trustees. A lot of technologies that BCV applications have been built on are outdated and no longer supported by their vendors. To eliminate security, performance and other risks that may negatively impact PBGC’s ability to serve our customers, we need to migrate these applications to supported technologies. PBGC has established a multi-phased multi-year modernization roadmap to tackle outdated and unsupported technology, eliminate security and performance risks without negatively impacting the timeliness and accuracy of benefit calculations

In Phase 1 we focus on developing a centralized database to consolidate individual case-specific databases, creating an open platform for future modifications, and establishing security foundation for the entire system. These changes are mostly invisible to the end users, but will greatly enhance BCV reliability, will further secure data, provide greater auditability, and improve reporting.

* Represents implementation costs only; Infrastructure costs such as hosting, licensing, etc. are not included and are part of enterprise costs.

CIO Comments

This BCV modernization Phase 1 project was completed in its entirety on August 07, 2020. The project was completed on schedule and under budget. In Phase 1, PBGC consolidated a case-specific plan and participant data into a single secure, centralized database. The consolidated centralized database is expected to improve data security, allow for audit tracking, ease data synchronization, simplify maintenance and allow for cross plan reporting. PBGC created an open platform for future modifications, established the security foundation for the entire system, and created a secure web portal which will be enhanced in future phases of the BCV modernization project.

BCV Modernization – Phase 2:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost
Projected                     Actual     
 Completion
Target          Actual
Benefit Calculation and Valuation Phase 2 Yes FY2020 $6,900,000* $7,043,164* Q4 FY2021 Q1 FY2022

What are we doing and why?

In BCV Phase 2, PBGC is modernizing the benefit calculation components to a web-based technology and modernize the interfaces between BCV with other PBGC systems. The modernized components will connect to the centralized database, improve ease of use, improve data integrity and security, ensure greater consistency and accuracy while establishing the foundation for providing online estimate capability for participants in the future phases.

* Represents implementation costs only; Infrastructure costs such as hosting, licensing, etc. are not included.

CIO Comments

The Benefit and Valuation Calculation (BCV) Phase 2 project is expected to benefit both PBGC and the participants we serve. PBGC will benefit by upgrading BCV components to a more scalable technology with improved data integrity and system interfaces. In addition, customers will benefit from a system with improved capabilities for providing online estimates in the future.

The BCV modernization Phase 2 project was deployed in Q1 FY2022 with deployment beginning on September 30, 2021, with a go-live on October 4, 2021.  Building on the foundations of BCV phase 1, BCV Phase 2 modernized the benefit calculation components to a web-based technology and enhanced several key modules. The modernized web recalculation improved usability, generates statements using new and improved technologies, improves data integrity and security, and ensures greater consistency and accuracy.  The slight deviation in cost and schedule is attributed to shifting to a new contractor team (onboarding, transition, and knowledge transfer), conducting proof-of-concept of new technology components with acquisition times, and schedule around PBGC’s end of fiscal year 2021 peak processing period.  Overall, the project was a successful completion given the shift in contractor team and complexities involved in balancing old-new technology components and builds the foundation for the next phase of BCV Modernization.

Telephony Infrastructure Modernization:

Project Agile
Approach
Budget Year Cost
Projected                     Actual     
 Completion
Target          Actual
Telephony Infrastructure Modernization Yes FY2018/
FY2019
$3,000,000 $3,250,000 Q4 FY2019 Q2 FY2020

What are we doing and why?

PBGC is replacing its legacy telephone and call center systems at all PBGC locations including the FBA sites and deploying integrated emergency notification and enterprise FAXC systems. PBX's and telephone handsets will be replaced with Omni-channel VoIP capable systems to support Infrastructure and business systems. This modernization eliminates security, performance and other risks that may negatively impact PBGC’s ability to serve our customers. This modernization will enable PBGC’s call centers to be more effective immediately and paves the way for integration with PBGC’s future customer-relationship management (CRM) and other IT systems to enable PBGC participants to access information regarding their PBGC account via integrated voice response (IVR).

CIO Comments

This project was completed in its entirety on March 25, 2020. The key component of this effort, the new phone system, was completed ahead of schedule, and has had the greatest impact on improving the external customer experience. PBGC replaced its legacy telephone and call center systems at all PBGC locations including the FBA sites on 06/24/2019. The new integrated emergency notification system, for PBGC staff, was implemented on 10/10/2019, ten days behind schedule. In addition, the enterprise electronic FAX system for customer support was implemented for the Office of Benefits Administration in the first quarter of FY 2020, with final deployment of the electronic FAX system across the Corporation on 03/25/2020.

From a results standpoint the project has been a success. The introduction of multi-channel queuing capability, centralized collection of analytic data, and improved call recording to enhance quality control has already payed dividends. PBGC call center improvements can be demonstrated by examining the following metrics from July 1, 2019 through April 15, 2020:

  • Total calls received – 346,622
    • 38,513 calls per month
    • Approximately 1,900 calls per day
  • Average speed to answer is under 30 seconds

In addition, the modern infrastructure provided by the new phone system with its enhanced availability, additional capacity, and soft phone capability has enabled PBGC to have 80 call agents working remotely, providing a full array of call center services during the COVID-19 pandemic without requiring call center personnel to report to a PBGC facility and without a drop in customer service levels.

The modern infrastructure provided by the new phone system will provide additional functionality for PBGC customers moving forward. Completion of this project was a foundational step for a CRM modernization effort (currently underway) and IVR self-service, a future project.

From a budgetary standpoint the overall project costs were just under $3.25 million dollars. This was due primarily to actual equipment costs being slightly higher than original market research indicated. However, no additional money was needed as the cost overrun was met by cost savings from other IT infrastructure projects.

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Last Updated: December 27, 2021