The energy crisis of the 1970s demonstrated the need for unified energy planning within the federal government. On August 4, 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Organization Act (Public Law 95-91), centralizing the responsibilities of the Federal Energy Administration, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Federal Power Commission and other energy-related government programs into a single presidential cabinet-level department. Activated on October 1, 1977, the twelfth cabinet-level department brought together for the first time within one agency two programmatic traditions that had long coexisted within the Federal establishment: 1) defense responsibilities that included the design, construction, and testing of nuclear weapons, and 2) a loosely knit amalgamation of energy-related programs scattered throughout the Federal government. With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the primary missions of many former nuclear weapons production sites changed to environmental remediation. The Department research efforts were focused on creating the framework for a comprehensive national energy plan by coordinating federal energy functions. The emphasis had been made on long-term, high-risk research and development of energy technology, federal power marketing, energy conservation, energy regulatory programs, a central energy data collection and analysis. As part of Department of Energy, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) markets and delivers hydroelectric power and related services within a 15-state region of the central and western United States. It is one of four power marketing administrations within the U.S. Department of Energy having the role to market and transmit electricity from multi-use water projects to retail power distribution companies and public authorities. Among WAPA’s customers are Federal and state agencies, cities and towns, rural electric cooperatives, public utility districts, irrigation districts and Native American tribes. WAPA contracted with ActioNet in January 2015, initially seeking to address their business needs for Incident Management. They started with ServiceNow Instance of EITS (OCIO) Department of Energy, commonly known as DAYS (DOE At Your Service) utilizing ‘Dublin’ version of the platform.
The scope of work included tracking and following up on incidents and change requests in support of the WAPA Information Technology (IT) Help Desk and WAPA IT Support personnel. This allowed WAPA IT Help Desk to manage trouble tickets; WAPA users to create trouble tickets; and WAPA support personnel create and manage change requests in the ServiceNow platform supported by ActioNet. Additionally, WAPA IT Support personnel accessed the system to complete the workflows and to close trouble tickets in the Incident Module. ActioNet engineers implemented automated notifications to WAPA users on the status of open trouble tickets and auto close when trouble tickets are in ‘Completed’ stage. WAPA users had the ability to create, view and download metrics and reports based on access permissions approved by WAPA. In August 2015, WAPA requested ActioNet to expand the use of ServiceNow to implement additional modules of the platform, to allow the agency benefit from various abilities offered by the platform. ActioNet software engineers established a dedicated ServiceNow instance independent of OCIO, addressing WAPA-specific business processes.
The scope of ActioNet effort in WAPA includes ServiceNow application development & maintenance, testing, implementation, training, documentation. Working together with WAPA stakeholders, ActioNet has expanded the use of ServiceNow cloud-based platform to implement additional modules, to allow the agency to manage the full cycle of IT Operations and use the tool for governance, risk, and compliance. ActioNet team largely has transitioned WAPA to ServiceNow platform utilizing Incident Management, Service Desk, Service Catalog, Change Management, CMDB (Configuration Management DataBase); Project Management, Resource Management, Demand Management, and Knowledge Management modules.
ActioNet delivers the following services to WAPA:
- Incident Management – restore normal service operation while minimizing impact to business operations
- Service Catalog – self-service portal for customers to request service and product offerings
- Change Management – minimize risks of changes to the IT environment by providing on-demand capabilities for creating, assessing, approving and implementing changes
- CMDB – Change Management Database of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Business Configuration Items
- Project Portfolio Suite – Includes Project Management, Resource Management and Demand Management
- Contract Management – Manage contracts, terms and conditions, and generate expense lines for contracts
- Knowledge Management – Gather, store, and share knowledge
ActioNet team implemented additional ServiceNow modules offered by the platform in support of WAPA mission and business needs. That enabled WAPA to:
- Provide optimal service within the agency, including high availability of all services
- Ensure security information is in compliance with national regulations
- Facilitate access to and management of information
- Leverage standards to ensure external agency interoperability
- Enable efficient operations through standard change, configuration, and release processes
- Increase efficiency through cost avoidance and return on investment
The team has migrated the application to the latest platform, ‘Geneva’; transferred the platform from the FISMA- compliant (Federal Information Security Management Act) Data Center to the next level – FedRAMP-compliant (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) Data Center. ActioNet has developed a NERC-CIP compliant (North American Electric Reliability Corporation Critical Infrastructure Protection) an industry standard custom application for Role Based Access Control for Entitlements, and Foreign Utilities Management. Additionally, working with the customer and addressing customer business needs, ActioNet developed a NERC-CIP compliant Patch Management application with monthly auto generated Patch Change Requests for several classes of CIP CIs (Configuration Items).