Debra Vess

Leadership Award for Service to the Citizen and the Country
Associate Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Business Solutions
U.S. Department of the Treasury

Debra Vess possesses over 30 years of extensive experience in private industry and the Federal Government. She is recognized as a business-focused senior executive and strategist who specializes in the creation and implementation of innovative business solutions across multiple Information Technology (IT) disciplines (i.e., application layer, infrastructure, cloud, cybersecurity, data management, risk management, etc.) to address complex business challenges across a wide array of functional areas (i.e., Financial Services, Human Resources, Mergers and Acquisitions, etc.)

Ms. Vess currently serves as the Associate Chief Information Officer (ACIO) for the Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS) division within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Her strategic leadership and forward-looking vision has been instrumental in shaping EBS into the shared service provider it is today. When she assumed her current role in 2008, she proactively identified and pursued opportunities that built shared capabilities while delivering simultaneous growth and cost savings for Treasury. The expansion of HR Connect (HRC), Treasury’s flagship HR Line of Business product, through the addition of new Federal customers, enabled EBS to extend its best-in-class HR system to Non-Treasury Federal customers and help meet their human capital needs. Ms. Vess championed the advancement, growth, and maturation of the program while resulting in greater cost efficiencies to Treasury, Treasury’s customers, and ultimately the Taxpayer through economies of scale and steadily decreasing the cost per seat by 9.8% since FY 2011. Ms. Vess built additional capabilities like Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Workforce Analytics, to continue meeting her HRC customers’ demands by re-engineering the source system data to create multi-dimensional data models that empowered business users with advanced self-service reporting capabilities to create a more robust and efficient Workforce Analytics environment, reducing query time by 50%.

Through her sound management and dedicated leadership, HRC now serves over 35 agency customers including more than 210,000 Federal and contractor users. Over Ms. Vess’ nine-year tenure, the program continuously enhanced technical functionality and capability; maintained a consistently high customer satisfaction rating among HRLoB peers; and captured a combined cost savings and avoidance of more than $50 million.

Ms. Vess’ leadership is characterized by her innate ability to define and execute a long-term transformative strategic vision and pivot to new developing trends in a rapidly evolving Federal landscape. Under Ms. Vess’ direction, EBS has consistently demonstrated a modern, customer-centric approach to digital innovation, helping Treasury to be the first Cabinet-level agency to move key web assets to a commercial cloud provider in 2010 with the launch of Treasury.gov, and later FinancialStability.gov, MakingHomeAffordable.gov, as well as other websites. Ms. Vess expanded EBS’ portfolio beyond HRC to meet increased demand for web-based solutions and digital services, building the first FedRamp FISMA Moderate Certified platform for Treasury’s Workplace.gov Community Cloud. This platform offers web solutions for shared services and provides customers with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), design, development, content management, content publishing, analytics, dashboards, compliance, survey creation, and governance. As the platform matured, it quickly became the go-to solution for Treasury offices and Bureaus looking to establish websites or web applications. Ms. Vess also oversaw the development of Treasury’s Digital Services Implementation Plan, which was lauded by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the “most strategic and comprehensive” plan submitted by any Cabinet-level agency.

In addition, Ms. Vess’ leadership in the development, launch, and expansion of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) shared services platform and application resulted in significant cost savings and avoidance through a shared collaboration platform, enhanced records management capability, expanded reuse of existing applications, costly legacy system retirements, and a vastly reduced paper footprint. Guided by her “build once, serve many” vision and her emphasis on code-reuse to reduce cost and time to market, the ECM Shared Services Program resulted in approximately $11 million in annual government cost savings and avoidance.

Moreover, Ms. Vess serves as a key member of GSA’s Unified Shared Services Management Provider Council, providing strategic thought leadership on the future of Federal Shared Services. Ms. Vess’ steadfast dedication to service and reuse of intellectual capital and assets (i.e., human capital data dictionary, playbook, etc.) supports Treasury’s efforts to create a 21st Century Government that is not only more effective and efficient but also promotes a culture of value-driven excellence.

Prior to joining the Federal Government, Ms. Vess held executive leadership positions at Fortune 100 companies and globally recognized firms such as AOL, Wells Fargo, and Prudential. As Vice President at AOL, she partnered with firm executives to create and execute technology plans to drive business results and enhance strategic capabilities. She led AOL’s human capital transformational efforts by developing their Human Resources technology vision, strategy, and applications roadmap from initiation through implementation. In addition, Ms. Vess was instrumental in the transformation of AOL’s communication portal.

Ms. Vess has Financial Services expertise in the areas of Finance, Accounting, Capital Markets, Asset Management, Risk Management, Tax, Mortgage Services and Information Technology As a Vice President at Wells Fargo, she managed her program’s $40 million systems integration effort to support the merger of two major subsidiaries. She also planned and managed their $6.2 million operating and $14 million capital budgets. As a Vice President at Prudential Home Mortgage, Ms. Vess designed, implemented, and managed information systems to support growth from a start up to a company valued over $600 million – including the due diligence for multiple mergers through eventual spin-off/acquisition. She also led the Technology, Operations, and Services reengineering and Cost Savings program in identifying and analyzing opportunities that implemented solutions to reduce costs, streamline processes, and ensure appropriate controls and risk, saving over $12 million.

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