1.1.29 Office of Online Services

Manual Transmittal

August 16, 2018


(1) This transmits new IRM 1.1.29, Organization and Staffing, Office of Online Services.

Material Changes

(1) This section describes the structure and responsibilities of the Office of Online Services.

Effect on Other Documents



All Divisions and Functions

Effective Date


/s/ Michele L. Causey
Acting Director, Office of Online Services

Office of Online Services

  1. The Office of Online Services, or OLS, was established as an IRS strategic initiative to lead business transformation efforts focused on digital government, improvements to the tax experience, and consistent enterprise-wide web service options. Online Services is organized as a functional area reporting directly to the Deputy Commissioner of Services and Enforcement (DCSE).

  2. Online Services’ vision is to continuously innovate to transform the taxpayer experience, and its mission is to advocate for customers and drive digital transformation by aligning people, processes, and technology.

  3. Online Services is led by a Director, and, consistent with industry best practices, is composed of five units that work together, and with its partners, to create and improve the taxpayer online experience – Product Management, Online Engagement Operations & Media, User Experience and Design, the Portal Business Office, and the Front Office (Strategy and Finance, and Operations). As an innovative start-up group OLS operates in close coordination with business operating divisions (BODs) and Information Technology (IT) leadership and facilitates change by incubating services, encouraging adoption, and integrating tools into BOD operations.

Online Engagement, Operations & Media

  1. Online Engagement, Operations & Media, or OEOM, oversees IRS.gov content on a day-to-day basis. OEOM works with partners across the Service to publish, promote and improve the content of the site. OEOM also works to implement site improvements, increasing capabilities and usability for all users across all types of devices.

  2. IRS.gov has tens of thousands of content pages and receives over 500 million visits per year. OEOM’s goal is to make tax information clearer so that IRS.gov’s authoritative content is best-suited for today’s online environment. OEOM does this by optimizing online content through Service-wide partnerships and working to implement a consistent, user-centric, data-informed approach to providing online information and services to IRS customers (e.g. individual taxpayers, large and small businesses, tax exempt organizations, tax professionals).

  3. OEOM works together with organizations across the Service to publish content to the site. This effort allows OEOM, in partnership with the Portal Business Office, Information Technology (IT) and vendor partners, to continuously improve a web content management system that accurately reflects the latest information and uses modern search and other tools. OEOM also develops standards and trains users on these tools and processes to ensure a consistent, high-quality experience for taxpayers who visit IRS.gov.

  4. The Director, Online Engagement, Operations & Media, reports to the Director, Online Services.

Portal Business Office

  1. In partnership with IT, the Portal Business Office, or PBO, manages the contract and task orders for the Integrated Enterprise Portal (IEP) and IRS.gov Web Content Management System (WCMS). As the business owner of the IRS Integrated Enterprise Portals, and the product owner of the WCMS, PBO ensures that IRS’ digital product features and capabilities are driven by the needs of IRS BODs, include up-to-date technology offerings, and adhere to IRS policies and procedures.

  2. PBO works with IT suppliers and vendors to manage development, modernization, and enhancement requests and operations and maintenance of the WCMS, which allows IRS staff to effectively publish, update, and review IRS.gov content using a leading technology platform. PBO also manages WCMS help desk operations by opening, resolving, reviewing, and reporting on help desk ticket resolutions and trends.

  3. PBO coordinates with business owners to identify and implement application enhancements to IRS.gov Public User Portal (PUP) and Registered User Portal (RUP) applications, including mobile responsive designs and improvements. PBO collaborates with internal stakeholders to determine requirements, analyze market offerings against IRS policies, and match internal needs with vendor solutions and portal hosting options.

  4. PBO manages filing season readiness preparation and certification, including annual updates to many IRS.gov PUP applications, calculators, and lookup tools.

  5. Through a managed service contract, PBO provides website helpdesk services for taxpayers who need assistance navigating IRS.gov and reporting technical issues with the site. The IRS.gov website Help Desk provides a complementary service to the IRS toll-free tax assistance line and, therefore, does not respond to tax questions, personal inquiries, or account related issues.

  6. The Director, Portal Business Office, reports to the Director, Online Services.

Product Management

  1. Product Management operates at the intersection of IRS mission, innovation, and the customer experience to align business requirements with customer needs and deliver an integrated digital experience for all audiences served by the IRS.

  2. Product Management is comprised of two branches:

    • Product Management

    • User Experience & Design

    A core component to the Product Management mission is to engage internal and external partners, and apply modern design practices, proven product management techniques, and agency-wide user research to new and existing initiatives. Agency-wide user research is coordinated with partners such as the Research Directors Coordination Council (RDCC) and embedded IRS research organizations.

  3. The Product Management (PdM) branch is responsible for the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition for online tools and services – a "product" or "product line" – in support of IRS’s strategic plan and customer experience vision. Our process identifies the heart of the customer need or business challenge and allows us to ideate and bring innovative solutions to fruition. We collaborate with end users and business stakeholders to validate concepts and ensure customers’ needs are met. Product managers work with technology teams to ensure the product is being implemented according to the requirements and user stories. We analyze results and continuously improve our digital services to empower and enable taxpayers to understand and meet their tax responsibilities online.

  4. The User Experience & Design (UXD) branch is responsible for influencing integrated customer experience strategies that merge innovative technologies, modern design principles, and user-focused research, testing, and analysis. UXD establishes design intent, ensures brand consistency, and delivers improved usability for IRS products and services. UXD works in concert with product managers, business owners, and delivery partners to empower the IRS to evolve with changing customer needs and make interacting with the IRS easier, clearer, and better for its customers. This includes:

    • Design Consistency – Establishing a clear, consistent, and trusted experience across all IRS digital products/services and ensuring alignment with overall IRS branding standards.

    • Idea Generation – Accelerating the ideation process, providing conceptualization and prototyping tools, and ensuring data-driven decision making that is informed by user research.

    • User Research – Employing quantitative and qualitative research techniques to explore customer service improvements and validate design assumptions against real customers.

    • Capability Building – Sharing tools, processes, and knowledge that drive a consistent customer experience across channels.

  5. The Director, Product Management, reports to the Director, Online Services.

Front Office

  1. To ensure consistent operations and the effective management of resources, the Online Services Front Office coordinates, facilitates, and conducts activities including:

    • Strategy development, governance, and funding processes for OLS

    • Hiring, performance management, training, and development

    • Tools and usage statistics for analysis of digital services

    • Communications efforts across OLS, within the IRS, and outside of the IRS

    • Risk management, oversight responses, infrastructure, facilities, equipment, and other ad hoc, operational, and administrative requests

  2. The Front Office consists of two units: Operations and Strategy and Finance.


  1. The Operations office focuses on providing OLS employees and managers with the support and resources necessary to perform their role and responsibilities.

  2. The Operations office functions include:

    • Contracts - responsible for acquisition management, contract administration and management, contract development, and contractor financial management. In addition to acquisition management, Contracts works with division managers when there is a need to onboard contractors, and/or need 5081 access requests approved.

    • Infrastructure - support OLS employees by securing office and meeting space, maintaining and provisioning OLS assets and supplies, providing ad hoc operations support, and maintaining the Occupant Emergency Plan.

    • Workforce - responsible for hiring and executing all personnel actions, executing IRS Human Capital Office agency requirements, advising managers on union and employee relations matters to ensure compliance, overseeing the annual performance management process, training coordination, and fulfilling people-related data requests.

    • Survey Management - provide OLS and IRS stakeholders with access to IRS.gov survey data, ad hoc survey data reports, and the capability to develop and implement surveys to capture user feedback on IRS.gov.

  3. The Director, Operations, reports to the Director, Online Services.

Strategy & Finance

  1. The Strategy & Finance office focuses on responding to incoming requests, aligning resources to strategic priorities, and managing the OLS budget.

  2. The Strategy & Finance office functions include:

    • Strategy and Business Planning - develop and/or provide input on OLS and IRS strategic documents that identify the future state, provides justification for planned implementations and highlights the approach for getting there. The office also facilitates and tracks responses to oversight requests and audits related to Online Services programs.

    • Investment Management - develop investment requests for OLS products requiring development. Facilitate unified work request (UWR) submissions for projects requiring IT development. Submissions reflect input from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and direction from OLS senior management.

    • Budget Management - responsible for planning and executing the OLS annual budget, supporting development of investment requests, and providing budget and cost support to other IRS organizations

    • Communications - provide for internal OLS, IRS wide communication, and external IRS communication. Additionally, Communications supports SharePoint, a critical tool in enhancing OLS staff’s ability to perform work and to intake requests.

    • Analytics - focus on analysis and reporting of IRS web applications and IRS.gov content. This includes planning what needs to be tracked and how it should be measured. Analytics works with OLS divisions to align business goals to key performance measures, develop a measurement plan, and design and generate reports.

  3. The Director, Strategy and Finance, reports to the Director, Online Services.

Online Services Organizational Chart

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