NIH SharePoint Modernization

Congratulations to LCG’s team at NIH’s Office of Strategic Coordination (OSC), who diligently worked over three years to modernize and upgrade 35 SharePoint sites from the legacy on-premises SharePoint 2019 platform to SharePoint Online. Our team developed custom interactive and responsive components using SharePoint Framework (SPFx), React, and TypeScript, allowing seamless integration with SharePoint data and services for a personalized and modern user experience.

When modernizing legacy tech, the act of translating old functionality to new frameworks remains essential to delivering on customer needs. The team attempted to make the custom SharePoint Online site more functional, while easing the end-user transition by retaining familiar SharePoint 2019 elements.

The team integrated features such as breadcrumb navigation, created reusable component libraries to modularize and design site architecture, developed User Acceptance Testing (UAT) cases, and addressed challenges such as custom actions not being able to translate 1:1 from SharePoint 2019 to SharePoint Online.

The following team members worked directly on this migration project and received high satisfaction marks from NIH’s OSC:

  • Sreepallavi Thota
  • Raja Ganapathi
  • Rupinder Kaur
  • Sumitra Sampath
  • Fern Wildesen

Ensuring Success in NIDCD’s Return to Physical Workspace Effort

Many workplaces faced new challenges transitioning to virtual workspaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID control methods have changed throughout the past three years, meaning that organizations may now find themselves evolving their workspaces to meet critical goals. LCG teammates played important roles on the Return to Work team at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), receiving the coveted NIDCD Director’s Recognition award. 

The Return to Work team at the National institutes of Health (NIH) is a program to support the transition back to a physical workspace. Many departments needed to create flexible workspaces to welcome employees back to a hybrid work environment, while also being mindful of the needs of employees. 

LCG’s Return to Work team at NIDCD coordinated and established hoteling spaces, refit client offices for in-person use, and acclimated users to the new hybrid workplace. The following LCG teammates on the Return to Work team received the NIDCD Director’s Recognition:

  • Dan Berger
  • Christopher Adams
  • Brandon Gomez
  • Hemalben Harkhani
  • Naveen Lanke
  • Dagmawi Jiru

Back It Up – The Importance of Redundancy

World Backup Day is March 31st, 2023. It’s a great day to remind ourselves of the importance of backing up personal and professional data. From family photos to important presentations, you’ve likely felt the pain of forgetting to do backups.

“Failure is Always an Option” – Adam Savage

Whether you are a MythBuster or a software developer, there is no shortage of issues that can result in data loss. Software bugs, malware, environmental factors, accidental deletion. Without a robust backup solution, your data is constantly at risk. There are several types of backup options that can mitigate this risk. Let’s take a look at a few of these that can help maintain access to your important files no matter what gets thrown your way. 

3-2-1… Countdown for Successful Data Protection

Having one backup copy of your critical work data is sometimes not enough. Let’s assume you back up your files or your application data to an external drive, and keep this drive in your home office or work desk. If your laptop fails, you have a backup copy for immediate recovery. If a water pipe bursts in your home, or there’s an issue at your desk onsite, then your computer and the external drive backup will likely be destroyed. This is a good reason to keep at least two copies of your critical data with one copy residing in an offsite location. Examples of offsite locations include simply saving to the cloud or even using an infrastructure datacenter whose specialty is housing backup data. 

OneDrive – One terrific offsite solution is Microsoft’s OneDrive. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you may have access to 1 TB or terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage. OneDrive can be used to backup specific data but can also be set up to backup all your local folders such as documents, downloads, and desktop automatically. This “set it and forget it” configuration means your data is stored in the cloud in the event something happens to your PC. This approach has the added benefit of giving you access to your files anytime and anywhere. For more information, simply access Microsoft’s OneDrive backup instructions online.

Even with the redundancy offered by a large company such as Microsoft, it’s a good idea to backup your cloud data and email to a third-party provider for even more offsite availability. Whether you are a web developer at a federal agency or a systems administrator at a business like LCG, our data easily climbs into multiple terabytes of cloud data. Having a robust strategy is critical to personal and business success. 

Remember – your backup strategy is only successful when implemented, so save your work today. 

Hold on let me go save this…

Daniel Trencher is the Systems Administrator in IT and Network Support at LCG

LCG Passes ISO 9001:2015 Surveillance Audit, Recognizing the Quality of its Performance

LCG has successfully passed its ISO 9001:2015 Surveillance Audit of the Quality Management System (QMS) validating a commitment to standardize and maintain the highest level of quality service to customers and verifying its continuous improvement of processes.

In 2022, LCG formalized its continued commitment to quality by forming a Quality Control department which also includes Client Relationship Management (CRM). Before the creation of the Quality Control department, LCG was a small company that was attaining and maintaining quality certifications by organically applying the vision of leadership and maintaining high standards of employees.

Following best practices, the Quality Control department works closely with the Service Delivery team and the Project Management Office (PMO) to ensure customer service quality remains high. At the same time, they work across the company to implement processes on an ongoing process to document and improve service delivery and operations.

Achieving ISO 9001 certification is intensive with annual audits to show the company has practices in place which demonstrate the company’s level of quality. The International Organization of Standards (ISO) provides a library of standards to fulfill which the company then fits to its goals and vision.

The current certification was awarded in 2020 and is maintained every year through a “surveillance audit” during which specific areas of the company are selected for audit. The following year, a different area of the company is audited. A member of the executive leadership team is present throughout the audit.

LCG will undergo a full audit of its 2023 quality performance in 2024.

In the words of Carlene Carter, LCG’s Vice President of Quality & CRM, “We work from the inside out, maintaining a solid internal infrastructure, reducing waste, and increasing productivity. Our Service Delivery teams work on improving our customers’ experiences every day. We monitor our success through customer surveys and CPARs. We also socialize the importance of maintaining high standards, have a company-wide Process Improvement Committee, and even run mock audits with heads of departments.”

The company performed exceptionally well with LCG passing the Surveillance Audit with zero non-conformities at any level.

A Guide to Generative AI and its Potential

Generative AI models aren’t just speculative science fiction anymore. It’s important to be cautiously optimistic in this pivotal moment, as many companies and individuals explore the role that AI models may play in society. As with any game-changing technology, it’s necessary to consider the historical view, as well as to understand our roles in building a brighter, better future. 

The brilliance of the technologies of today’s second machine age is on full display. Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most remarkable innovations in recent years. It has the potential to transform our lives in countless ways – from boosting our productivity to providing personalized healthcare – and even creating virtual assistants that can provide a natural language interface. 

ChatGPT, one of these Generative AI models, appears to be the first step across the transformative threshold for entire industries. Many are excited and many are fearful. It’s important to examine our initial reactions to create a better understanding of this technology and where it may lead. 

Looking back at the industrial revolution and the first machine age in the late 1700s, we find similarities to today’s response. Many critics of industrialization believed that the capitalist system would inevitably replace human labor with machines. Industrialization did in fact replace certain types of labor, but new opportunities for employment materialized; people adapted to the new conditions driven by industry. 

During the industrial revolution, remarkable physical engines augmented the capabilities of the human body. Today, the ongoing computing revolution of the second machine age is focused on augmenting human minds – and Generative AI is the perfect case study. Let’s evaluate it with an open mind.

The cautiously optimistic technologist ethicist in me calls for the following considerations.

First – We all must take the time to make responsible AI. At the very least, we should understand the ethical considerations involved in the development and deployment of AI technology so that we can ensure that they are safe, fair, transparent, and accountable.

Second – What is Generative AI, and what is the big deal? Generative AI is a field of machine learning (ML) technology that learns to guess the correct output from user input by using massive training datasets. It can output content of all types, from textual narratives, music, and even visual art. However, a Generative AI model cannot perform the broad-reaching intellectual tasks that humans perform as its focus is primarily on generating content within a specific medium. The limited scope of current Generative AI models is known as a “Narrow AI,” aka “Weak AI”, compared to the more generalized knowledge pursued by the conceptual “Artificial General Intelligence (AGI),” or “Strong AI” models speculated during the 1950s. 

Third – What does all this mean for society? As with any new disruptive technology a balanced mindset allows for the analysis of potential benefits and risks. We find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty and upheaval with the availability of Generative AI to the general public for free or low cost. 

As we navigate the uncertainty about Generative AI’s role in society, I hope we can approach it with curiosity. Keeping an open mind and seeking ways to harness AI’s power for the greater good will allow us to make an informed decision about its uses and applicability based on numerous capabilities and constraints.

There are several ways to learn and evaluate Generative AI, starting with ChatGPT, a platform immediately available to probe for its abilities and limitations. In addition to ChatGPT, you can explore other Generative AI solutions through resources such as Base10, which provides a wealth of information and tools to help you learn more about the latest trends and developments in the field of Generative AI. 

Advanced users looking to explore AI development, OpenAI APIs, and Azure Open AI Services can find advanced features and tools to help create robust and scalable AI solutions. A recent development is the availability of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Whisper models to developers through API, ten times cheaper in monetary cost than the existing GPT-3.5 models. These services are designed to integrate with systems and workflows, so you can start building and deploying advanced AI solutions quickly and easily. 

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with this thought. Modern technology will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, with increasingly advanced capabilities becoming accessible to the public. As early adopters, we should work to maximize its positive impact while minimizing any adverse consequences. By doing so, we can set an example for others to follow and help to realize the full promise of Generative AI.

Chanaka Perera is Chief Technology Officer at LCG.

Engineering at All Stages of the Health IT Lifecycle 

This Engineering Week, LCG recognizes the contributions engineering has made to Health IT and biomedical research support.

LCG helps accelerate digital government strategy and programs so that agencies and their critical systems can stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly shifting digital landscape. From initial project conception to finished product, the process of development would be nothing without the expertise that many engineers employ. Innovation is crafted by decisions that shape the pathway from idea to reality. Through the work of LCG’s many engineers, we enable more efficient, productive, and speedier customer transformations. 

For instance, in the design and development of Health IT solutions, engineers at LCG are there at every phase from design and development, to creating interfaces, developing algorithms, and designing databases. Adding on top the existing complexity, the engineering team then integrates systems to be sure that all components are working together seamlessly. 

With many Health IT products outputting large amounts of data, there is also a need for analysis and insight. Through the phases of development, engineers working alongside healthcare professionals can ensure that designs of databases, algorithms, and management of key records allow for robust data analysis. This enables healthcare professionals to make informed decisions about diagnosis, treatment, and care management.

As with any sensitive data, cybersecurity is of utmost importance. All products must be secured to protect patient data from theft in any form. Cybersecurity engineers are responsible for safeguarding vulnerable data and to increase the security profile of the organization. 

Finally, to ensure regulatory compliance and that the solution created in development is viable, engineers must perform rigorous testing, including designing and executing test plans, system verification and validation, and conducting risk assessments.  

At every step, engineers work closely with healthcare professionals following the Federal government’s standards.  By working together to design, develop, and test, engineers are involved at each stage so solutions are guaranteed safe, effective, and fulfill the ever-changing needs of Health IT and biomedical research. With the advent of advanced machine learning and generative artificial intelligence models LCG is testing and incorporating emerging technologies to modernize, integrate, and create whatever our clients need to embrace innovation’s future.

Srinivas Kothuri is Vice President, Innovation and Digital Engineering Services at LCG.

Modernizing Legacy Data: AudBase

Building customer-focused solutions aren’t just buzz words at successful companies – it’s part of the corporate DNA. It starts at the top with strong leadership vision and it multiplies across departments with employees breaking down silos to serve the company and customer missions.

A recent example comes from our client, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) – one of 27 Institutes and Centers at NIH – where Ravi Kosuri of LCG recently received the Director’s Award for his work on NIDCD’s Audiology project.

NIDCD’s Audiology project was a small part of a very large project the LCG team was working on in 2022.

The larger project had an extensive project management plan with timelines, tasks, and deliverables identified upfront with the customer. An immediate need was identified to provide NIDCD Audiology staff with a way to read and process data from the AudBase system.

The team’s approach was quickly shifted to progressive elaboration by LCG’s project manager, Ashley Stanton. Progressive elaboration is an iterative Agile project management technique that allows for a project plan to evolve as information is gathered. This approach, as well as its short turnaround time, made the AudBase project very unusual from the start.

Even when the pressure was on to rapidly turn the new project, time had to be spent in the early days determining the foundational nature of the challenge. Since the service delivery team was deeply embedded in the project, they worked with customer stakeholders to understand their needs. Multiple technical options and their impact were researched with cost and risk analyses so the team could recommend the path forward. Ravi worked collaboratively with the developer, third-party vendors, and government employees to implement a cloud-based database solution that met NIDCD’s needs on time and under budget.

By conceptualizing the best solution and accomplishing the client’s goals and objectives on the tight timeline, Ravi’s team successfully delivered a:

  • Web service interface (Azure-hosted API interface with AudBase)
  • Data transformation engine (JSON parser)
  • Cloud-based relational database
  • Accessible interface for third-party applications (such as RedCap, QlikSense, or Power BI)

Not only did Ravi receive the NIH Director’s award but the entire LCG team was recognized by the Center for Information Technology (CIT) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of the pioneers in using the NIH Azure Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) Initiative.

The end result is a new concept and technique for conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research and research training in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.

Ravi Kosuri is LCG’s principal architect supporting the life science advancements in biomedical research at NIDCD.

ADVISORY: New NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy Affects CIOs

A new NIH Data Management & Sharing Policy will go into effect January 25, 2023. While the focus is on the new responsibilities of researchers, the policy will have an impact on NIH Chief Information Officers (CIOs). Here is what CIOs need to know.

Scientific data is sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of usage in support of scholarly publications.

First, the policy applies to all research, funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH, that results in the generation of scientific data.”1

Investigators and institutions are required to:

  • Plan and budget for managing and sharing scientific data generated by NIH funded research.
  • Prepare and submit a Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan during the funding application process.
  • Comply with the approved DMS Plan.

For CIOs, the policy triggers new procedures and oversight on an Institute or Center (IC) basis for both extramural and intramural research. CIOs should expect new queries from researchers about available repositories for data sharing. In addition, proactive communication about access and security considerations will prevent future challenges.

Data Management and Sharing Plans

Each NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) determines the procedures for submitting and managing DMS Plans. CIOs should engage with the appropriate IRP offices to advise and assist.

CIOs supporting extramural research grant application and funding systems will need to add associated features and functionality to capture and store DMS Plans.

Supplemental policy guidance provides details about expected contents for DMS Plans and recommends a length of two pages or less.2 Exhibit 1 summarizes the DMS Plan content expectations.

Exhibit 1. Summary of Data Management and Sharing Plan Content Elements

Data TypeSummarize data types and amount, may describe data modality, level of aggregation, degree of data processing

Describe scientific data planned for preservation and sharing with reasoning behind ethical, legal, and technical factor decisions

Brief list of metadata, other relevant data, and associated documentations planned for facilitating scientific data interpretation
Related Tools, Software and/or CodeIdentify any specialized tools needed to access or manipulate the shared scientific data for replication or reuse
StandardsDescribe planned standards for application to scientific data and metadata, for example, data formats, data dictionaries, data identifiers, definitions, unique identifiers, and other data documentation
Data Preservation, Access, and Associated TimelinesDescribe plan and timeline for:
Name of repository identified for scientific data and metadata archivalHow the scientific data will be findable and identifiableWhen, and for how long, the scientific data will be available
Access, Distribution, or Reuse ConsiderationsIdentify applicable considerations for subsequent access, distribution, or reuse related to informed consent, privacy and confidentiality protections, control of data derived from humans, regulatory or policy restrictions, other potential limitations
Oversight of Data Management and SharingIdentify institutional oversight roles and responsibilities for monitoring and managing compliance with the documented plan


1.       Research Covered Under the Data Management & Sharing Policy | Data Sharing. Accessed October 18, 2022.

LCG:Impact Returns with a Night Out for Employee Recognition

Employees across the company and country gathered on December 7, 2022 at the Marriott Convention Center in Bethesda, Maryland for the first in-person company-wide event since before the pandemic. The night brought co-workers together and gave the LCG leadership team the opportunity to share their vision for the future. The high point of the evening was recognition of outstanding employees and teams.

The following individuals and teams were recognized for their contribution to helping LCG empower federal government agencies to create extraordinary change over the past year.

  • Directors Award
    • Cindy Griesbach
    • Ravi Kosuri
  • Most Percipio Badges
    • Priscilla Compian
  • Most LCG Certifications
    • Naveen Lanke – 1st place
    • Ravi Kosuri – 1st runner-up
    • Nishant Chadha – 2nd runner-up
    • David Montgomery – 2nd runner-up
    • Hima Poonadathu – 2nd runner-up
    • Karthik Ramamurthi – 2nd runner-up
  • MVP Award
    • Ashwini Bachu
    • Kenneth Bergman
    • Christal Carter
    • Matthew Favilla
    • Ravi Kosuri
    • Sebastien Morizet
    • Ehab Rashed
    • Isaac Rodriguez
    • Ashley Staten
    • Sree Pallavi Thota
  • Innovation Award Team
    • Office of the PMO: Murad Abbasov & Ashley Staten
  • Digital Transformation Award
    • LCG IT Department: Ehab Rashed, Ezell Taylor & Daniel Trencher
  • IMPACT Customer Service Award
    • LCG Grants Services Team: Tasbeeh Badi, Taha Badi, Emily Behles, Ephrem Bekele, Nishant Chadha, Stephanie Cook McDaniel, Benjamin Farrow, Althea Gautier, Leslie Green, Deborah Halpern, Jasmine Hanonu, Mary Jackson, Clarise Jackson-Hal,l Kaira Johnson, Lavonnia Jones, Karthik Kalvakollu, Maura Kephart, Chan Young (Scott) Kim, Nawsheen Laila, Sebastien Morizet, Hima Poonadathu, Nandita Prasad, Karthik Ramamurthi, Shruthi Seelesh, Allison Stanfill, John Stewart Rukeyser, Daaimah Titarine, Kateri Tucker, Sarah Valle, Swapna Priya Vuyyuru, Tracey Walker, Jennifer Webber, LaTania Williams, Ephrem Zelelew, Reem Akkad, Armand Olivier Amany, Priscilla Compian, Juleesa Davis, Sarah Frey, Juan Granados Umanzor, Shatema Hardy, Brittany Holland, Amanda McGill, Tiesha McKeithan, Aaron Foisi Nmungwun, Lisa Scott, Jacinda  Smith, & Grady Grace Wani

    Several employees received multiple awards including Nishant Chadha, Priscilla Compian, Ravi Kosuri, Sebastien Morizet, Hima Poonadathu, Karthic Ramamurthi, Ehab Rashed & Ashley Staten.

    Congratulations to all award winners.

    Enhance User Experience with Focused Self-Service Metrics

    IT service management (ITSM) maturity and adoption of best practices varies across Federal IT organizations. Over the years, visionary Federal leaders with insight into the value and benefits along with the ability to influence acquisition strategies have enabled the adoption of ITSM tools and practices in many agencies. Industry partners assist in advising, implementing, and advancing ITSM capabilities for greater efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, and improved user satisfaction. 

    Self-service (Tier 0, Level 0) capabilities enable users to solve issues without contacting a Service Desk. Portals implementing self service capabilities contain features such as:   

    • Service Catalog with Service Request functions 
    • Incident Ticket creation 
    • Knowledge Base with reference documents, tutorials,  
    • Collaboration Forums 
    • Chat functions with live or virtual agents 

    Incorporating self-service capabilities as part of the Service Desk creates a significant enabler of improved user satisfaction and productivity. Traditional Service Desk metrics fail to measure the value and benefits of self-service contact channels. Traditional Service Desk metrics primarily focus on call volume and agent productivity.   Introducing self service capabilities requires new metrics for monitoring adoption and informing decisions. 

    Careful definition, collection, monitoring, and reporting of self-service specific metrics have shown: 

    • Increased availability and efficiency 
    • Faster incident resolution 
    • Faster request fulfillment 
    • Productivity improvements 
    • Reduced costs 
    • Happier users 


    Traditional Service Desk metrics fail to measure the value and benefits of self-service contact channels. 


    Assess your organization’s self-service critical success factors to identify the appropriate measures for continual evaluation and monitoring. 

    A Deep Dive 

    Awareness and usability influence the realization of these benefits. Metrics provide evidence for recognizing the benefits of self service capabilities, while also providing the insight necessary to know when an organization can make improvements. An organization need to measure the Self Service capabilities to understand it’s true effect on the overall Service Desk experience. Exhibit 1 suggests a few new metrics to consider when adopting self-service capabilities. 

    Exhibit 1. Potential CSFs and KPIs for Assessing Self-service Results 

    CSF KPI Desired Trend 
    Reduces Costs Cost per Contact Downward 
    Users Find Solutions Self-Service Success Rate 
    Self-Service Failure Rate
    Faster Than Phone or Email Fulfillment Time Downward or Stable 
    Meets Needs Satisfaction Upward or Stable 

    CSF: Reduces Costs 

    Tracking ‘cost per call’ provides valuable information for a primarily telephone-based Service Desk. The introduction of self-service capabilities creates an omnichannel Service Desk and triggers the need to track costs associated with each contact method.  

    Insightful reports show cost trends for each channel, like that shown in Exhibit 2

    Implementing tracking for Self Service gives the accurate cost breakdown between all aspects of the Service Desk. An organization might see a reduction of cost across the average cost per contact.  

    Exhibit 2. Example Cost per Contact Trend Report 

    CSF: Users Find Solutions 

    KPI: Success RateKPI: Failure Rate

    Measuring the success rate for users leveraging self service capabilities to track incidents and requests provides valuable, but only partial, insight. Consider the situation where only a small portion of users achieve success in finding solutions using self-service, but a sizable portion of users with the same issue call the Service Desk instead.  

    Intuitively, one might assume a directly inverse relationship between self-service support channel success and failure rates. However, the scope of each metric is significantly different and requires careful attention to the details.

    CSF: Faster Than Phone or Email

    Users naturally and consistently return to effective, efficient, and successful methods of accomplishing tasks. When users perceive self-service as faster and easier than calling or emailing the Service Desk, adoption increases and improves benefit realization. 

    KPI: Fulfillment Time
    KPI: Fulfillment Time

    CSF: Meets Needs 

    KPI: Satisfaction

    In addition to satisfying the needs of users, a self-service implementation must also satisfy the sponsor’s need for realizing a return on the investment. For this reason, Service Managers must monitor both the user’s and the sponsor’s perception of value delivered by the self-service channels  

    User experience metrics provide information about these perceptions and require capture across all support channels. Monitoring trends assist in identifying pain points for further investigation as well as raising awareness of needed course adjustments. 

    Continual assessment of sponsor perception assists in proactively responding to concerns to making necessary adjustments.

    Looking Forward 

    Establishing a baseline set of self-service metrics enables continual monitoring as the service organization explores and implements customer experience (CX) advancements such as chatbots, Virtual Assistants, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

    The implementation of self-service capabilities significantly influences traditional Service Desk metrics causing a need to adjust expectations and targets. A future article will dive into how self-service should affect trends in Service Desk metrics like lowering First Call Resolution Rates (FCRR) and why that should be the desired affect.