Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel described his path forward for federal IT in a policy speech in Silicon Valley this October and again in the draft Federal IT Shared Services Strategy released just this month. He articulated a “Shared First” paradigm that will lead agencies to root out waste and duplication by sharing IT services, infrastructure, procurement vehicles, and best practices.
As the go-to partner for acquisition, GSA can help agencies go “Shared First”. We are ready to leverage our deep experience in working with customers across government to address their most challenging IT acquisition problems.
Shared IT services
The draft Shared Services Strategy requires agencies to move two “commodity IT services”—back-office IT services common to every agency—to a shared environment by December 31, 2012.
We have provided shared IT services to dozens of agencies over the years. For example, over 90 federal agencies use our USAccess identity management service to issue and manage their employee ID cards.
We are excited to help customers think about how to further consolidate their IT systems.
Before the Federal Data Center Consolidation initiative, the federal government warehoused its data in over 3,000 data centers, tying up outsized amounts of capital and real estate and resulting in higher emissions.
According to VanRoekel, the federal government will close 1080 data centers by the end of 2015, with an estimated cost savings of $3 to $5 billion. GSA is working with agencies to achieve these savings by migrating to shared infrastructures through our data center services and cloud solutions.
Using a shared infrastructure also enhances service, since agencies can rapidly scale their capabilities up and down to match their mission needs, and recover more quickly after an emergency.
Agencies also use GSA vehicles to minimize their contracting overhead. The State Department has done this by consolidating more than 100 existing task orders down to four through our Alliant and Alliant Small Business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) for a secure network infrastructure.
When agencies buy alone, they also miss out on the volume discounts available when the government pools its buying power. Customers can get these kinds of discounts from the SmartBUY software program. GSA is also defining new ways for federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations to aggregate their demand by buying IT products as a commodity.
Shared best practices
GSA helps agencies use current best practices in contracting by posting sample statements of work (SOWs) for many of our contracts, such as Alliant and Connections II.
To support common standards, we aligned two GWACs (Alliant and Alliant Small Business) with the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) and Department of Defense Enterprise Architecture (DoDEA). This means agencies can more easily use past SOWs and report their IT investments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It also means that the scope of both GWACs grows and changes as vendors’ technology capabilities grow and change, without requiring a technical refresh.
Give us your feedback
I encourage everyone involved in government IT acquisition to review the federal Shared Services Strategy (PDF) and provide comments. For background, you can watch VanRoekel’s speech or read a transcript. I’d like to know how you plan to use a “Shared First” approach for your agency – please leave a comment or find me on Twitter!
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