We Are Listening

We’re down to the last few agencies making the move from our Federal Telecommunications Service 2001 (FTS 2001) contract to the Networx contracts and I am proud of the work we’ve done with our agency partners and OMB to make Networx a success.  

As many of you know, the Networx transition has not been easy. While the adoption has experienced challenges, we continue to work with agencies and industry to improve the offering, ease the transition, and highlight its benefits. In fact, we are applying the lessons learned from this effort to ensure our future program and offerings are an unqualified success.

Recognizing success

Most agencies now see the benefits of Networx. Almost 99% of services have transitioned and only 12 agencies remain on FTS 2001—four of which will make the transition by September.

In my discussions with agency CIOs and staff, it is clear that we all agree that centralized purchasing of network services saves money, improves service levels, and allows our government to get more for our mission. What is also clear is that agencies are looking for even more ways to share services and solutions where possible. GSA is committed to providing this kind of support.

The savings story of GSA’s telecommunications program is unmatched. Because we know exactly what agencies are buying and how much they are buying through  FTS2001 and Networx, we know we’ve saved the government about $7.7 billion (cumulative since 1999) when compared to commercial rates. Despite its imperfections, Networx adds tremendous value to agencies by leveraging the purchasing power of the federal government and providing access to new technologies.

The technologies offered in the contract have enabled the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep the country safe while allowing the Departments of Justice (DoJ) and Treasury to free up employee time so they can better serve citizens and save taxpayer dollars.

Specifically, Networx allowed these, and other agencies, to transform disparate telecommunications and networks infrastructure into an enterprise-wide managed network and security service, allowing them to reinvest savings in newer technology and increase bandwidth by almost ten-fold.

Applying lessons learned

Over the last few months, we’ve been reaching out to our agency and industry partners to talk about what’s working and what could be done better.  These lessons learned are helping us develop the Network Services 2020 strategy – the way forward for our telecommunications and network services program.  The Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Acquisition Officers (CAOs), and Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) must be involved during the planning, execution, and implementation phases of the program. As such, we have held and are planning to hold additional cross-agency, CXO discussions. The first discussion occurred in June and focused on the future of government IT.

The roundtable discussion was a success and many of the agency CIOs told us that the NS2020 strategy must help facilitate the acquisition of more efficient network services solutions, which could eliminate the need for agencies to make costly infrastructure investments and could also help us buy more “as a service.”

Moving forward

We at GSA will continue to talk with agencies, industry, and our stakeholder community to ensure that our next generation solutions are easier to use, facilitate a faster and smoother transition, and enable government to buy those technologies that transform the way we serve our citizens.  

At its core, GSA provides agencies with IT acquisition solutions that save them time and money. We are committed to working together to develop the best solutions possible.