AWS Public Sector Blog

How the US DOJ Tax Division built a remote telework application in six weeks with AWS

In mid-February of 2022, the US federal government began planning the return-to-office after the COVID-19 pandemic. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Tax Division needed to quickly build and launch a telework authorization application by April 1, which would help their more than 500 attorneys, paralegals, and administrative personnel request a hybrid work arrangement—part-time telework, part-time in the office. Managers needed the ability to review and approve telework requests, and executives needed to be able to gain insights on the Division’s telework arrangements—all while keeping sensitive information compliant and secure.

To do this, the DOJ Tax Division worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build an enterprise-level telework approval application in less than two months, before the Division’s re-entry in mid-April of 2022.

Helping government employees choose where they work, securely

The DOJ Tax Division is responsible for enforcing US tax laws. It handles or authorizes most civil and criminal litigation that concerns or relates to the internal revenue laws in federal district and appellate courts. The department is responsible for investigating and prosecuting companies and individuals that do not abide by US tax laws. As part of this work, the Tax Division needs to process and store a high volume of sensitive information, including tax payer information and records.

In preparing for their return-to-office, the DOJ Tax Division wanted to streamline how employees request telework and how supervisors approve it. Previously, employees filled out PDF forms and submitted them to managers to request a hybrid work environment, and managers manually signed the forms. The HR staff would then record these forms into a database. This took time away from managers to focus on more critical work and wasn’t scalable. The DOJ Tax Division development team knew there had to be a simpler way. As they had minimal experience in the agile framework, and serverless and container technologies, the team engaged with AWS Professional Services (AWS ProServe) and AWS Partner Favor TechConsulting, LLC (FTC), who built a wireframe proof-of-concept of the application. After reviewing the design with the stakeholders, the production application was built.

The application and code management was built using native tools in AWS GovCloud (US), which is designed to host sensitive data, regulated workloads, and address the most stringent U.S. government security and compliance requirements. The serverless, cloud-native architecture scales to meet spikes in annual activity when employees must apply for recertification, and remains cost-effective at other times with lower demand. The application uses infrastructure-as-code with AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) for rapid provisioning, Amazon DynamoDB as a flexible NoSQL database for agile development, AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway to deliver the core business functionality in a scalable and cost-effective way, Amazon EventBridge to integrate with on-premises systems, and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) on AWS Fargate to serve a streamlined user experience.

Building a solution to help meet their mission

The application creates an automated mechanism for DOJ Tax Division employees, managers, and executives to reach a hybrid work arrangement by streamlining the request and approval process. Additionally, the same environment can be expanded to other internal applications such as time tracking for employees, and can serve as a reference template for future cloud-native developments.

With AWS ProServe and FTC, the DOJ Tax Division built their new authorization app in six weeks, and launched on schedule on April 1, 2022. The tool also helped improve the client digital experience—within five days of the launch, 40% of the DOJ Tax Division staff had used the tool to request and obtain approval for their telework arrangement.

DOJ Tax Division chief information officer (CIO) Brian Depasse, said, “I’m thrilled with how this application came together so quickly. I also want to thank the AWS team for their intense work to complete this.”

Learn more about AWS for federal government missions at the cloud computing for federal government hub. Do you have other questions about how AWS and AWS ProServe can support your mission? Reach out to the AWS Public Sector Team today.

Read more about AWS for federal government:

Subscribe to the AWS Public Sector Blog newsletter to get the latest in AWS tools, solutions, and innovations from the public sector delivered to your inbox, or contact us.

Please take a few minutes to share insights regarding your experience with the AWS Public Sector Blog in this survey, and we’ll use feedback from the survey to create more content aligned with the preferences of our readers.