FY14 IT Budget: Our Run to Daylight

The release of President Obama’s FY14 Budget reinforces the fact that many government agencies’ reduced IT spending budgets continue to decrease. However, agencies must still deliver enhanced missions to serve the American people.  Therefore, we must work smarter than ever — together — to deliver better value and savings.

While the FY14 budget nudges up IT spending slightly, a closer look shows many agencies actually face reduced or flat spending, yet missions continue to grow and demands continue to expand.

This does not deter us, but inspires us. It allows us to be creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative. But how do we succeed? How do we ensure budget constraints and pressure from sequestration are not missed opportunities?

Noted football coach Vince Lombardi was famous for his running-to-daylight offense where offensive linemen blocked areas en masse and the running back ran toward any opening created. This was the key to gaining football yardage and, ultimately, victory.

With spending cuts in play, government needs to find the openings (opportunities) to turn the game around. The quicker we run in that direction, the better chance we have to be champions.

Spend Less; Spend Smarter

Our shared goals are simple: Deliver cost-effective best value to the American taxpayer. We must use shared resources to work more efficiently, spend smarter, reduce duplication, and decrease costs.

In government IT, we already have proven winning game plans:

1.   Agency Deep Dives. Enterprise-wide, agencies can often find areas to improve IT collaboration and system sharing. Agency IT deep dive teams that explore cost-saving options and enhance enterprise-wide cooperation make sense now more than ever.

GSA’s Acting Administrator consolidated all our IT personnel, budgets, and systems under GSA’s Chief Information Officer. We’ve also had huge success internally with our Great Ideas Hunt (generating $5 million in savings so far). We rolled it outside the agency to search for other great ideas we can use to save money and deliver solutions better.

2.   Strategic Sourcing. Agencies have been looking at better ways to cooperate and benefit from work done by other agencies to drive down government operating costs. We need to help them do that faster. We must share and use contracts where much of the acquisition effort and cost are already completed.

We are enhancing current contracts to make it easier for customers to find and order services and faster to modify, customize, and add to existing contracts. We are implementing agile and innovative solutions to increase the speed for agencies to reap the benefits of technologies like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and telecommunications.

These solutions, like our upcoming strategic sourcing wireless contract, also help drive down costs. We are working with partners and inter-agency working groups to make solutions and services like managed mobility, network services, and cloud brokerage more accessible and convenient for all agencies to use. We aim to drive cost-effectiveness and world-class value government-wide.

3.   GSA IT Savings Report. Do you ever get reports from your utility company about how your home energy efficiency compares to your neighbors? I just got one the other day. It’s confidential between me and the utility…. but how in the world can my energy use be so much more than all the other homes in my community? How can I do better?

GSA stands ready to work with your agency to explore ways our IT solutions can help you reduce costs, minimize duplications and redundancies, and save your budget dollars by leveraging our investment to set up contracts and acquisition vehicles, so you don’t have to. We can leverage your past vendor successes and bring more partner opportunities to the mix.

Our job is to help support you to focus on your missions while maintaining quality and reducing costs. Be sure to contact GSA (check our technology site on gsa.gov for our contact number).  We have a team of resources to help you.

We’re committed to help government as a whole save $2.1B in government IT costs every year. This savings will go a long way to help reduce the budget deficit and help agencies to maximize their IT dollars. All of us are going to have to re-think and re-imagine how we do things – together.

Please share comments or additional ideas in the comments section below, or follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.