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Managed Mobility Gets Even Sweeter

College basketball has the Sweet 16 in March. Our kids have chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and gooey marshmallow Peeps in April. And springtime kicking harsh Old Man Winter to the curb to bring in baseball’s Boys of Summer is pretty sweet.

At GSA, we’ve got more sweet news. We recently launched the Mobile Lifecycle & Expense Management (ML&EM) component of GSA’s Managed Mobility Program.

ML&EM solutions can reduce agency mobile costs, saving up to 25% during initial rollout and 8-10% savings thereafter. The larger an agency’s mobile footprint, the higher expected efficiencies and cost savings, but value grows for any agency as its mobile strategy evolves and mobile usage trends up.

Re-cap of Mobile and Wireless

We originally launched the Managed Mobility Program in May 2013 with Mobile Device and Application Management (MDM/MAM). Our program started by identifying MDM/MAM industry solutions on existing government-wide contracts.

We also launched last May the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative Wireless blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) to save government costs on wireless. One agency is saving 30% on wireless service and mobile phones as compared to their prior agreements. All four major wireless carriers provide national coverage. One cool feature is account-level voice and data pooling to reduce overages, further lowering costs.

The New Sweet Spot

To sweeten the mobile management solution mix for agencies, GSA and a cross-government working group most recently documented common government requirements for ML&EM. We identified industry partner solutions that meet the bulk of the requirements and mapped solutions to existing government contracts.

On March 31, we posted links to these ML&EM sources of supply on our website.

ML&EM solutions give agencies resources and expertise to manage wireless expenses and service selection throughout the lifecycle. This includes managing wireless expenses, invoice consolidation, optimization of service plans, managing inventory, invoice/cost distribution, and resolving disputes with carriers. Identified sources of supply can initially examine an agency’s wireless service plan mix, usage trends, and more to see where you might save, and will do this on an ongoing basis to increase an agency’s wireless ongoing cost savings. Contract Optimization standards comply with OMB Circular A-123 and Presidential Executive Order 13589.

In today’s government, we know we need to continually seek ways to save taxpayer dollars on IT. Using Wireless BPAs is one way. Using an ML&EM solution can be another.

Need help on using GSA’s Managed Mobility Program or FSSI Wireless BPAs? Find out how we can assist you through our new Need Help Page. And be sure to follow us and continue the conversation on Twitter @GSA_ITS.

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Applying Lessons Learned To Telecom Transition

GSA’s strategic network services program is critical to the services and missions of almost all civilian and
defense agencies. Our telecommunications and IT contracts are designed to reduce risk and increase efficiency for government agencies.

The government completed the FTS2001-to-Networx transition about a year ago. The transition took longer than expected, but here’s the great news: In FY13, the Networx contract saved US taxpayers over $678M and agencies purchased over $1.3B using it.

Networx offers significantly better pricing than FTS2001, typically 10% to 40% depending on the service. By leveraging this buying power of government, agencies can procure the services they need at lower prices, and they can avoid the costs and risks of creating and managing their own contracts and support systems.

Networx enables government agencies to save taxpayer dollars, meet many mandates such as Trusted Internet Connections and IPv6, modernize networks, and use advanced technologies as they become available.

GSA did a lot to support agencies in the Networx transition. We performed transition planning and provided extensive transition assistance, including:

  • Transition Credit Reimbursement
  • Direct technical support
  • Inventory and billing systems
  • Operating a Transition Coordination Center
  • Acquisition support for some smaller agencies

Networx benefits and successes are clear, but we can do better! The Government’s transition to Networx took longer than anticipated, resulting in lost savings opportunities. Transitioning an agency’s enterprise network is complex, there are considerable costs associated with transition, and many stakeholders that must work together.

Apply Experience

We recognize the need to apply lessons from the past to enhance future transition success. We’ve analyzed lessons learned over the past few years to plan better for a future transition and follow-on contract and program.

And we are also working on implementing recommendations from the recent GAO report on Networx Transition.

Among the many lessons we and our partner agencies learned from the Networx transition are that improvements are needed in:

  • Project planning
  • Executive visibility
  • Coordination between IT and acquisition personnel
  • Managing complex acquisition processes to avoid duplicative contracts
  • Technical and contracting telecom expertise across government and need for more GSA support

We recently posted the Network Services Programs Lessons Learned Overview and Network Services Programs Lessons Learned Report to gsa.gov and are working to create a Lessons Learned government database for agencies to search and access.

Network Services 2020, or NS2020, is our strategy for our next-generation telecom and IT infrastructure portfolio. We’re applying lessons learned and proactively engaging our stakeholders to define the complete set of service offerings under NS2020.

Successful transition involves many steps that require executive-level attention and dedicated resources:

  • Transition Planning – Establishing a Transition Working Group, recommending a standard process, developing Statement of Work (SOW) and Fair Opportunity templates, developing a Transition Management Plan, creating a methodology to compute transition credit reimbursements, defining transition tracking metrics, and customer education
  • Direct Transition Preparation – Implementing agency education program and developing requirements by agencies, including drafting Task Order statements of work
  • Active Transition – Making Fair Opportunity decisions, ordering services, and transitioning the services
  • Inventory Management – Agencies, with assistance from GSA as needed, must continuously manage and validate their service inventories; it’s not just a one-time event to be conducted during a set transition period

Our Next Steps

  • Develop our successor to Networx and our regional contracts
  • Incorporate lessons learned to fully address improvements for transition, contracts, the program, acquisition strategy, ordering, billing and inventory management – we want to reduce duplicative contract vehicles, and continue savings to federal agencies
  • Establish an inter-agency Transition Working group
  • Establish clear and realistic end-to-end transition schedules and milestones
  • Recommend establishment of a senior-level “Transition Transparency Group” to provide needed visibility, transparency and focus
  • Offer full life-cycle support options to enable agencies to succeed in any transition step
  • Continue to engage IT and acquisition stakeholders (including industry) early and continuously throughout the process
  • Work with OPM to identify skills needed and skill gaps or resource shortages and strategies for
    addressing

As we move into a new phase of government telecom, we take with us applied knowledge and those lessons from the past to aid the transition. We continue to be committed to offer a marketplace that provides agencies with buying options, access to data and information, access to expertise, an improved buying experience, and continue to deliver significant savings.

Find out how we can assist you through our new Need Help Page. And be sure to follow us and continue the conversation on Twitter@GSA_ITS.

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Hear me talk about our Mobile Technology Solutions

We live in a very mobile and flexible society. We depend greatly on the ability to communicate when and where we choose in both our private and work activities. To that point, the government spends more than $1 billion on wireless services plans and devices each year with the expectation for those figures to increase as demand increases.

Here at GSA, we took a look at the current environment and developed our Mobile Technology Solutions to help our federal customers evaluate their mobile requirements and provide assistance in filling in the gaps.

I’m excited to be trying something new today: A Video Blog! Hear me talk about our Mobile Technology Solutions and let me know your thoughts by reaching out on Twitter to @GSA_ITS

Mary Davie’s video:


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The 4-1-1 to IPv6

Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) year-end FY14 deadlines are fast approaching for the federal government. If you haven’t started, now is a good time to consider how far we’ve come and what we have left to do to complete IPv6 transition.

The CIO Council’s IPv6 guidance tells us where we’ve been and defines the phased milestones we must meet. So how to get there becomes the question: Have you completed the transition? If not, do you have a plan of action to meet the IPv6 FY14 year-end deadlines?

New Resources are Available

Whether you have a plan and just need a bit of additional help or you’re in the early stages and want a lot of assistance, GSA’s IPv6 SOW Template and Connections II IPv6 resources can help.  

GSA’s IPv6 SOW Template, prepared with input from OMB’s IPv6 Working Group, will make the final journey to IPv6 easier to navigate. Our IPv6 SOW and related documents will help guide agencies through the acquisition process to obtain support to meet the full spectrum of IPv6 deadlines and requirements in a standard, achievable way.  

The template covers everything you need for IPv6: planning, systems analysis, hardware, software, labor, test and integration support. Customize it to suit your needs for any contract, system or equipment. We also include sample inventory and pricing charts, and a potential work breakdown structure. Agency acquisition documents will need to include IPv6 specifications going forward.

Besides providing the SOW Template, Connections II connects agencies to companies with expertise in IPv6 transition services and support. In addition, GSA’s:

  • IT Schedule 70 offers commercial IPv6-compliant IT products and services.

  • Networx allows federal agencies to build seamless, secure operating environments through customized telecommunications services, including IPv6 services.

  • Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) provide IPv6 transition services as part of a total IT solution.

IPv6 Enterprise-wide Benefits

Today, both IPv4 (the legacy Version of IP) and IPv6 are in use. Agencies not only need to meet the deadlines to achieve business continuity across the Internet, but must leverage IPv6 protocol capabilities and ensure compatibility with new Internet services.

The CIO in its IPv6 Roadmap states: “There is more to the IPv6 transition than achieving the basic objective of providing additional addresses. As federal agencies integrate IPv6 within their current operations, they also have the opportunity to employ the new technology to optimize and enhance their business functions.”

“The technological advances provided by the new protocol,” the roadmap continues “will enable agencies to significantly enhance their mission capability by removing the limiting technology of the legacy protocol, IPv4, and adopting IPv6 as the new standard for supporting operational efficiency.“ It can also reduce agency network administration and security support costs downstream.

Rundown of IPv6 Milestones

1990s – Due to economic demand of greater “information accessibility” across the Internet, the worldwide community deploys high-performance infrastructure and begins to develop IPv6

2005 – OMB issues Memorandum M-05-22, “Transition Planning for Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)”

2008 – Federal agencies must deploy IPv6 on federal government network backbones

2009 – Federal CIO Council issues best practices guidelines in “Planning Guide/Roadmap toward IPv6 Adoption within the U.S. Government” (the “Roadmap”), which has since been updated

2010 – OMB releases a subsequent memorandum titled “Transition to IPv6”

2011 – Remaining available IPv4 addresses are released regionally for consumption; Asia Pacific region exhausts its supply of IPv4 Internet addresses, and European and North American regions’ supplies being exhausted

2013 – GSA issues IPV6 SOW Templates and documents to assist agencies with looming deadlines for IPv6

FY 2012-2014 – Federal agencies must achieve phased objectives at end of FY12 and FY14

Be sure to also check out the Planning Guide/Roadmap Toward IPv6 Adoption within the U.S. Government from CIO.gov. It gives guidance on IPv6, worldwide implications, regulations and anticipated impact on government initiatives.

Find out how we can assist you through our new Need Help Page. And be sure to follow us and continue the conversation on Twitter @GSA_ITS.