Achieving the IT Reform Plan: GSA’s Four Secrets of Success

Government agencies are six months into implementing the Federal CIO’s 25 Point IT Reform Plan, and according to agency CIO status blogs, we’re on schedule. That’s great news.

However, how we finish is more important than how we stay on schedule. With Federal CIO Vivek Kundra moving on, we need to work that much harder.

That’s why I want to share some secrets that will help us achieve the plan the Federal OCIO set in motion:

Secret #1 – GSA has the first-mover advantage (and wants to share!)
As Casey Coleman pointed out in her blog, GSA successfully addressed point 3 of the IT reform plan: We moved our email to the cloud using our own Alliant GWAC. We can share our scope of work and lessons learned with your agency.

Secret #2 – GSA has the solutions to meet your IT reform plan challenges
We’ve created the first OMB-sanctioned cloud computing-specific contract vehicles for Infrastructure as a Service and Email as a Service, fulfilling points 4 and 5.

We can also help you consolidate your commodity IT spending under agency CIOs (point #20), an area where government is behind the curve. We have stood up a new IT commodity buying program and are building our Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Wireless program to provide streamlined acquisition support.

Secret #3 – Involve industry in any IT project
Industry involvement is critical for any IT project, as is communicating early, often, and throughout the process.

At GSA, we are involving industry and agencies to develop new solutions such as our cloud BPAs, our FSSI Wireless, and SmartBUY, as well as planning our Network Services program strategy.

In addition to face-to-face conversations, we are using tools like wikis, discussion boards, and idea-generation tools. We have found these tools to be great ways to augment traditional market research and requirements definition processes, reaching a broader audience as well as increasing transparency and participation.

Check out GSA’s use of a wiki to get input on RFIs, requirements, and acquisition strategy at the BetterBuy Wiki. We’d be glad to share lessons learned and “how-tos” with your agency.

Secret #4 – Pick the right partners
As the government’s primary workplace solutions provider and a proving ground for new IT solutions, GSA can provide the tips, tools, and technologies to enable you to see all of your IT projects through to successful conclusion.

Let me know how we can help your agency by leaving a comment or reaching me on Twitter.

Perseverance, Innovation, and Keeping it Simple

For the first time ever, GSA combined its Expo and Network Services Conference. This year’s events took place in San Diego, California, and were well attended by over 7,000 government and partner company employees.

GSA kicked Expo off a bit differently this year—Steve Wozniak spoke to us about his journey as co-founder of Apple Computers.

A couple of things really struck me in his talk:

  • First, it was obvious he was born to build the Macintosh; his passion for logic and electrons is innate.
  • Second, his perseverance is immutable. He continually sought to innovate, learn and improve every time he undertook a new project.
  • Last, it’s clear that the genius of real innovation is simplicity.

The key message for GSA is this:

Passion + Perseverance + Innovation + Simplicity = products and services that customers love.

Harnessing Passion and Perseverance for Innovation

Having been at GSA for nearly 25 years, I can honestly attest to the passion and perseverance of our employees and industry partners. We need to harness that energy to achieve simple, more innovative products and services.

In the federal IT acquisition world, that means easy-to-use and easy-to-modify acquisition processes. It means just-in-time access to the cutting-edge technology needed to keep our phones ringing, mouses clicking and our cyber borders secure. It means solutions, not just contracts, at the click of a button.

The way we get there is through better communication, collaboration and idea sharing.

My Customer and Industry Listening Tour

I’ve been on the road a lot lately, speaking at conferences and symposia on the merits and challenges of the federal IT acquisition space—this is the government’s version of wedding season. So, in San Diego, I spent a lot of time just listening to customers and industry partners talk about our current IT products and services line-up and the future of government IT.

I want to know how we can improve, where technology is heading, and how we can better work together. For both sides, the message was clear: Continue to innovate and make things simpler. That’s exactly what we are working on as we continue planning for the future.

Streamlining Customer Service

It struck me that our Expo is a natural result of President Obama’s latest Executive Order–Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service. GSA is all about customer service, but we should be—and are—following private-sector best practices, using self-service options, and reducing the need for customer inquiries. We—not only the federal government, but GSA—must streamline our customer service for more efficient public engagement.

Share your ideas with us on our BetterBuy wiki site.

Thanks again to everyone for joining us at Expo and the Network Services Conference and thanks for your continued partnership with GSA.

We hope to see you next year in San Antonio, May 15-17. In the interim, let us know how we can make the event and how we can serve you even better.