VA Case Study

Early in 2018, The Veterans Administration, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Division committed to a significant modernization effort. They understood that leading-edge technology could play a major role in serving veterans better. Their counselors were hobbled by outdated processes and systems that unduly burdened staff with administrative work, which was not conducive to successful client closures.

As they researched ways to solve those challenges, they contacted other federal agencies for suggestions. The RSA (Rehabilitation Services Agency responsible for administering all state vocational rehabilitation programs in the U.S.) responded.

The RSA told the VA to look into SARA, which they had funded in 2015 as a pilot for multiple states. Consequently, the VA did a “deep dive” into SARA and issued an RFI (Request for Information) in July of 2018.

After evaluating the RFI responses, the VA granted a Sole Source contract for SARA to The Career Index on May 1, 2019 — a highly unusual move for the agency. For the VA VR&E, this was their first endeavor into the world of Cloud-based SaaS applications, and SARA had to blaze new trails for security and VA interoperability with existing systems. For internal reasons, SARA was branded internally as e-VA for the VA (Electronic Virtual Assistant).

In May 2019, in front of the VA's congressional oversight committee, Four Corners, the VA demonstrated how e-VA would revolutionize the VA’s veteran services.

By February 2020, e-VA received interim Authority to Operate (ATO), meaning it had passed all required security measures. Then, by April 2020, e-VA was fully connected to CWINRS, the VA’s case management system, with four pilots initiated.

The pilots were a success, and the national roll-out commenced in June 2020. By the end of July 2020, half of the VA had full implementation (130,000 active clients across 12 time zones managed by 1,500 staff). The project will be completed by mid-August 2020.

Feedback continues to be exceptional, including the statements, “e-VA, where have you been all my life?” and, “Support is first class. Never seen responses this fast!” along with, “Clients love it. It’s so easy to respond.”

VA’s CPARS of The Career Index

(Official Federal Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System — May 2020)
Evaluation Areas Past Rating Rating
Quality N/A Very Good
Schedule N/A Very Good
Cost Control N/A Very Good
Management N/A Very Good
Small Business Subcontracting N/A Very Good
Regulatory Compliance N/A Very Good

“For our veterans, e-VA means communicating with more flexibility and convenience and the ability to connect with our counselors and staff via text and email,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “For VA, e-VA connects with our veterans, efficiently handles administrative functions, works with our case management system, and also provides management with additional reporting tools.”