Laying the Foundation for Integrations

Non-IT professional services continue to represent a major share of government contract spending. While GSA’s Schedules program offers technology and other professional services on an a la carte basis, agencies have asked us to provide a total professional services solution, which often requires acquisition of multiple services across separate functional areas. To answer this request, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service is preparing a business case for approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a new contract vehicle that we are calling Integrations.

Our goal

Integrations will be a strategic program enabling acquisition of complex integrated professional services along with supporting technology. Our governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) have successfully enabled integrated solutions for technology acquisition.  Like the GWACs, we want Integrations to fit closely with customer agency needs so that agencies do not have to create new vehicles.

For example, a key agency need is flexibility. About half of all government spending on complex integrated professional services in FY 2010 took place under cost-type contracts. That is why we are planning to include all task order types in Integrations, including cost reimbursement.

What to expect

GSA is committed to making the contract development process as transparent as possible, and ensure maximum participation by agencies and industry throughout this process. In the next quarter, we’re planning to finalize and post Part I of the Integrations OMB business case to the MAX Information System for agency review and comment. We will also be releasing a project schedule to allow industry to successfully prepare to respond to anticipated requirements.

Our development team is currently establishing a customer working group to include agency representatives from across government. We’ll take their input and validate agency needs over the course of three to four months, after which we will update our draft documents and share them with industry for feedback. In the meantime, industry partners are invited to visit the Integrations industry community on our collaboration platform, Interact, to learn more about the program and communicate directly with the Integrations team.

Let’s chat

I’m serving as one of the spokespeople for the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)-wide Integrations team during this phase of contract development, and would like to hear how you want to be involved and how you’d like to hear from us. Please leave a comment with your thoughts on this new effort or join me for a Tweet Chat Wednesday, February 29th.  I’ll be on Twitter from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., answering questions from customers and industry on a range of topics, including Integrations.  To participate, follow us on Twitter at @GSA_ITS and use hashtag #ITSChat.

Government’s Mobile Moment

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel recently announced the development of a new Mobile Strategy at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I was there, and was glad to hear his perspective on the potential of mobile technology for government, especially since GSA has been working hard to realize that potential.

Putting mobile IT to the test

GSA has been at the mobile technology frontier for some time now. Most GSA employees have laptops and smartphones so they can work from anywhere. Our systems and internal network are fully accessible via the web. We have implemented rigorous yet manageable security to protect the agency and our employees, including mobile device management and two-factor identification for external systems. We are well on our way to reaching our goal of secure access through any device, anywhere, anytime.

We’ve taken these risks because we’re committed to making government work better, no matter the mission or the location. We say “work is what you do, not where you do it,” because we’ve seen firsthand how enabling mobility has empowered us to better serve other agencies. This experience has prepared us to advise the federal government in using mobility to improve services to citizens, engage citizens in government, reduce costs, and increase productivity.

Our mobile role

We’re closing what VanRoekel calls the productivity gap between government’s traditional methods and mobile best practices. We are working to help agencies address unique mobility requirements through existing, flexible contract vehicles like Alliant and Connections II. We are also tackling commonly shared needs through our new, streamlined programs, like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Email as a Service (EaaS), and a new wireless program.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, VanRoekel highlighted our wireless program as a pocket of excellence, because it can improve oversight and overcome the government’s fragmented mobile IT purchasing. We will soon release a wireless blanket purchase agreement (BPA) under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) to leverage the government’s buying power for wireless services and devices, including smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

The BPA will include requirements to enable enterprise-level management and reporting, and will integrate with planned modifications to our Telecommunications Expense Management Service (TEMS) FSSI. Agencies will then be able to manage their inventory and expenses through a single, secure interface, simplifying and improving the business of government. We are also part of the mGov team looking at opportunities in acquisition, inventory, and expense management to further aggregate and leverage what and how we buy.

I look forward to sharing with you more of our plans and successes in the coming months, especially following the release of the final Mobility Strategy. You can learn more about the Mobility Strategy at the Office of Management and Budget blog as well as the recently completed National Dialogue on The Federal Mobility Strategy. In the meantime, I invite you to share your thoughts and feedback by leaving a comment on this blog or finding me on Twitter.