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Organizational Solutions and Strategy


The Client’s Need

AvantGarde’s support of USDA since 2011 includes providing both strategic and operational consulting support to the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center (FBC) Information Solutions Division (ISD), an organization formed in the 2018 FPAC reorganization that combined the back-office functions. This reorganization presented many organizational challenges for ISD with its mission to supply and manage USDA’s Information Technology.

Our Approach

  • Leading Change:  AG’s Change Manager facilitates quarterly off-sites for the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) providing all meeting agendas, and content (exercises), and after actions to lead ISD managers to arrive at common organization goals and strategies. Additionally, follow-on sessions are conducted as monthly working sessions. AG’s lead consultant provides structure and guides monthly leadership calls and participates in leadership’s weekly meetings.

  • Developing Leaders: ISD ELT leadership experienced new roles, responsibilities and significant change in personnel and operations with the reorganization. To help with the transformation, AG provides ELT managers regular monthly coaching sessions to support them in their leadership development and management of their respective Branch Offices within ISD. The coaching themes are kept aligned with the change management initiatives.

  • Develop Future State: AG’s team includes seasoned financial and business process consultants with years of experience supporting USDA, being specifically involved in the FPAC reorganization effort. AG is conducting the Business Process improvement effort for Business Operations Bureau (BOB) to lead the financial organizations within it to integrated processes and a web-based tool to managed access and limit data redundancy. AG reviewed provided current state process maps and leveraged them in a series of workshops to work with BOB to produce future state process maps.  AG interviewed numerous Subject Matter Experts to collect operational details and further decompose processes to inform tool requirements.  Best in Class tools are being evaluated, and recommendations provided to help BOB make tool enhancement or procurement decisions. As business process are prioritized, AG is developing documentation to support current and future operations to include SOPs, desk guides and checklists.

  • Congressional Report Submissions: AG financial consultants lead the effort for BOB to produce two congressionally mandated annual reports by collecting the required financial data for the various investments and working closely with key FPAC stakeholders. In cycle with investment decisions, the inputs are reviewed and revised multiple times. AG works to manage the revisions and keep the stakeholders informed.  AG conducts numerous multi-agency review and gains office review and sign-off approval from the Secretary facilitating USDAs compliant submission to Congress. 

The Result

FBC ISD leadership has positively embraced the change management activities and is realizing a shift in leadership synergy and common direction.  Communication down and up has improved and managers are developing their leadership to move the organization toward its customer focused goals which have been clearly established and agreed upon.  AG’s thorough evaluation of BOB’s operational aspects, gaps and inefficiencies is leading the financial arm of ISD to an integrated and automated future state, well documented for training and improved working effectiveness. Also, the financial management team’s stewardship of the strategic reports has resulted in accurate and compliant congressional submissions.

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