Case Study

Agency Launches Enterprise-Wide Approach to AI Adoption

AI strategy and governance framework fosters a positive culture that embraces AI.


A leading federal executive department of the U.S. government anticipated significant risks, challenges, and opportunities stemming from the use of artificial intelligence technology and developed an AI strategy and governance framework to help navigate the uncertainty.

The agency identified a need for an enterprise-wide approach to AI adoption. AI posed a new, complex challenge and carried a variety of risks, including ethical concerns, lack of visibility into AI use in mission execution, workforce concerns and talent gaps, and unfamiliarity with the underlying techniques and technology. The agency needed an AI-specific strategy to develop a common vision, overarching goals, actionable objectives, and guardrails for its use and adoption. The agency also required a thorough implementation plan to determine the appropriate actions for all stakeholders across the organization to execute the strategy.

To mitigate risks, simplify implementation, and manage the significant challenges involved, the agency needed an experienced partner with AI strategy expertise. The agency engaged Guidehouse to devise a strategy and implementation plan that would successfully drive enterprise adoption of AI, create a robust structure to govern AI, comply with federal mandates, and cultivate a transparent, collaborative organizational culture to understand and embrace the benefits and challenges of AI.



Setting a Strategy for Successful AI Adoption

Following initial discovery sessions with relevant stakeholders, Guidehouse performed market research to find common AI governance trends across the federal government, commercial organizations, and academia to highlight gaps within the agency. Along with the findings from this research, Guidehouse used its existing AI strategy framework to develop goals that aligned with the agency’s current strategic priorities.

In a collaborative process with key agency stakeholders, Guidehouse devised an initial AI strategy outlining specific actions and outcomes, focused on several areas of emphasis:

  • Cultivating an AI-ready workforce
  • Aligning AI activities with the agency’s data strategy
  • Building an AI governance structure
  • Supporting agency-wide AI adoption with an implementation framework that can respond to the evolving federal policies and regulations

Guidehouse delivered a detailed roadmap with specific phases, workstreams, and activities required for successful implementation of AI strategy goals. The implementation plan outlined dependencies and sequencing of activities for AI strategy tasks and assigned ownership of those activities to the relevant stakeholders. This was the first step toward crafting an actionable plan to prepare the agency for enterprise-wide AI adoption.


Keeping the Workforce Engaged with an AI Community of Interest

A crucial component of the implementation plan was establishing an AI community of interest (COI) to help execute the strategy and implementation plan, create a forum for stakeholders to come together to collaborate on AI topics, and provide knowledge and resources to the workforce to help with AI adoption. The AI COI united employees around AI standards, technology, policy, and leading practices.

The COI released a charter and then began facilitating monthly meetings to gather input on key deliverables, provide federal-wide AI policy updates, highlight AI use cases around the organization, and share progress from the implementation process. Additionally, the AI COI created an AI metadata catalog and AI test bed to build a foundation for AI adoption. The test bed will allow users across the agency to easily experiment with AI, test out new software, or learn AI basics. The AI COI also hosted vendors to demonstrate AI capabilities, and guest speakers from across the federal government to share their experience implementing AI. Making AI approachable and simple for all employees is crucial to successful adoption and ROI from AI investments.

The AI COI supported the strategic objectives of enhancing workforce skills, maturing the agency’s data foundation to enable AI, adopting emerging technology to support experimentation with AI capabilities, and creating policy to support responsible use of AI.


Designing an AI Knowledge Hub to Educate Employees

To ensure the COI’s efforts were effectively communicated and readily available for the benefit of all employees, Guidehouse designed an AI Knowledge Hub. The Hub is a repository for key AI information, guidance, news and events, connections to AI talent development, and AI collaboration opportunities.

This approach addressed another important aspect of involving and educating the workforce: ensuring that employees had the knowledge, skills, and resources to use AI to better meet the mission.


Ensuring Ethical, Secure, and Effective Use of AI

The agency needed secure, transparent, responsible exploration of AI technology to mitigate risks and address concerns associated with AI. Guidehouse contributed to the development of ethical principles for the use of AI within the organization by standing up a working group to bring together subject matter experts from policy, legal, and technology disciplines to draft the ethical principles. The principles had to be consistent with the agency’s mission and fulfill the policies and mandates of the federal government.

Guidehouse helped the agency develop an agency-specific policy that was aligned with the federal policy, create an inventory of current AI use cases, and develop a framework to assess each AI use case against the ethical principles in the federal policy. Guidehouse supported the inventory process by creating a template and guidance for a data call to agency business units requesting their current AI use cases. Guidehouse reviewed data responses based on ethical principles in the federal policy and met with stakeholders to gain additional clarity. Guidehouse then compiled all use cases into a single inventory and facilitated multiple reviews with agency governance structures in the data, technology, and legal disciplines as well as the overarching agency leadership. Finally, Guidehouse supported the agency with publishing the approved inventory to the agency’s public-facing website.



Partnering with Guidehouse enabled the agency to begin implementing its AI strategy, drive adoption, work with a robust governance structure, and effectively foster a positive culture that embraces AI. Key stakeholders across the agency, including executive leadership and staff, have fully bought into the idea of AI as an integral aspect of the organization’s future, which has empowered the agency to effectively implement the strategy, and establish collaboration channels across the organization.

Guidehouse helped the agency establish a future-proof governance structure with 200+ participating stakeholder groups and that will continue to support the agency as AI technology continues to advance at an exponential pace. Guidehouse’s strategic advice has positioned the agency as a leader on AI strategy and governance among federal agencies. With its safe, secure, and trustworthy development and use of AI, the agency is now prepared to comply with regulations such as Executive Order 14110.

Most importantly, Guidehouse helped the agency navigate the complexity and risks of this unprecedented new technology. The agency is now prepared to leverage AI and capitalize on the vast range of benefits it offers, both now and in the future.

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