Business Partner Go-Live Message from MIDAS Program Director

By Tonye Gross

Tonye Gross

Tonye Gross
Program Director, MIDAS
Farm Service Agency

We are very excited to announce that MIDAS is approaching a major milestone, the release of Business Partner Go-Live on December 17th. We would like to thank our MIDAS project team, Super Users, Change Agents, and State Trainers for their commitment and hard work that has led us to our on-schedule Go-Live. We could never thank you enough for your contribution and remarkable outcome.

As you know, MIDAS is a key FSA initiative to “Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems” and provide a sustainable long-term solution resulting in increased efficiencies and reengineered business solutions. Moving forward, Business Partner will be the system of entry and record and serve as a centralized source for all customer information, empowering users to minimize manual steps in this process.

Overall, CRM provides comprehensive and robust processes and tools that enable simplified and convenient methods for producers and our employees to interact with farm programs. FSA is excited to announce that the CRM Business Partner deployment will Go-Live next week and will be a welcome addition to Farm Records and Product Master as we continue moving forward as a modernized agency.

Following a period of Customer Care post the Business Partner release, the CRM system will enter the sustainment phase of Operations and Maintenance (O&M). At that point, the MIDAS program will have successfully established a sustainable platform for future modernization, which will allow FSA to optimize the use and value of information technology.

MIDAS was the initial step towards a fully modernized FSA, but there is more work to do to provide FSA with the complete tools needed to serve our country’s farmers and ranchers. FSA will continue to move forward with the next phase of Agency transformation. After the CRM Business Partner release, FSA will continue efforts to ensure the operational availability, security, and integrity of our current applications and services. These efforts aim to provide continuous business process improvements to our applications and services. They also support changes to program legislation, business requirements, and technology, enabling new customer models that support FSA as it becomes the gateway for farmers and ranchers to access rural and agricultural support services.

This Go-Live is a tremendous achievement for our team and for the Agency. It represents years of planning and hard work, and signifies the field’s strong aptitude for modernizing and innovating the way we do business. Due to your dedication, end users are now equipped with comprehensive processes and tools that enable simplified and convenient methods to access farm programs. We will continue to rely on these products moving forward as the Agency continues its modernization journey.


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MIDAS Program Manager Update

By Amy Allison

Headshot of Amy Allison

Amy Allison
MIDAS Program Director

The MIDAS Project kicked off the new year preparing for ITC3 (Integration Testing Cycle 3), which began the first week of February. This is the third round of integration testing and is the final testing phase for the farm records deployment. This testing cycle will ensure that MIDAS, FMMI, GIS, and existing programs on the Web farm are working together properly. Integration testing will continue until we resolve system bugs that cause a disruption in the production system that do not have a work around. The outcome from integration testing will provide MIDAS, ITSD, and GIS teams with the final solution that will be transported into the production environment. Super users will play a key role in integration testing by participating in and completing user testing.

With the start of ITC3, we are now able to move forward with scheduling farm records training for super users, state trainers, and end users. Exact dates for Super User and State Trainer training will be announced soon. To prepare for the upcoming end user training, Web-based training will be available in AgLearn. A future notice will confirm the availability of the courses and provide guidance regarding Web-based training. Foundational learning sessions are available and can be found on the USDA Connect MIDAS training community.

Mock cutover is another critical activity in preparation for Go-Live. Mock cutover is a practice run for final cutover which is the actual conversion to the new system performed immediately prior to Go-Live. The purpose of mock cutover is to validate the correctness and completeness of the steps in final cutover and to incorporate lessons learned into the cutover plan to ensure an efficient final cutover for Go-Live. Additionally, mock cutover will ensure that the hardware is ready and functioning properly and that all of the data has been converted and imported into the MIDAS solution before it is available to the field.

In addition to working toward the farm records deployment, the MIDAS team has started work for the next deployment: acreage and inventory reporting. The technical designs for acreage reporting have been finalized and system development is underway. Additionally, technical designs for inventory reporting are in progress and once finalized, development can begin.

The MIDAS team has been working hard to roll out robust farm records and GIS functionality to the field. Thank you all for your patience and support for MIDAS as we continue to work toward a comprehensive solution.

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Hyper Care for Go-Live

By Tacy Summersett

Hyper Care is the stabilization period after Go-live which focuses on customer support, data integrity, and system availability. The Hyper Care team is a group of MIDAS individuals located in Washington, D.C. who will provide technical support to national, state, and county office employees. In order to resolve issues, the Hyper Care team will leverage MIDAS program knowledge and experience from the Business Process Functional team, Technical, and Security teams. The intersection of various teams supporting Hyper Care aims to ensure that all questions and issues are resolved in a timely and effective manner.

Hyper Care is not a substitute for training; rather Hyper Care will aid users in technical issue resolution and questions regarding how to use the system. Post training, if an end-user has a question regarding the system they would leverage the processes, such as using the context sensitive help within the system to aid in answering on-the-spot questions. Additional support can be found in the web-based training courses. These courses include step-by-step system process simulations that can be reviewed as needed.

If an end user cannot find the answer after using the above processes, the end user can log a ticket using two separate methods. First, the end user can log a ticket using self service by:

(1)   Clicking on the TSD icon in the systems icon tray.

(2)   Selecting Remedy Self Service from the Customer Links drop down in the upper right hand corner of the screen. This will take the end user to the eAuth page to log on to self service using e-Auth credentials.

(3)   On the Service Request Management home page double click on the service for software issues. Note: There may be additional options to select from after selecting that service.

(4)   Completing the Self Service Intake questionnaire. Enter all required information and then click on the Submit button.

The second way to log at ticket is to call the FSA Help Desk at 1-800-457-3642.

For the MIDAS program as a whole, it is important to log tickets and use the hyper care resources to resolve any issues. Using the hyper care processes in place, the team will be able to gauge what is working in the field. The Hyper Care team is working hard to ensure that the solution will enable all end-users to utilize MIDAS efficiently.

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