If you had to take a course about Networx called “How to Get the Most from Telecommunications,” would you pass with flying colors, fail, or just get by?
If you know what Networx is, what options are available, and your organization has placed orders using Networx, congratulations, you’ve passed Networx 101. If you want to learn how to get the most from Networx for your organization, you’d be advised to take a 200-level course, or just read this blog post.
Today, not every agency is taking advantage of some of the newer Networx technologies that offer savings and enhanced features to support agency missions. Think of this blog as the Networx 201 cliffs notes, outlining acquisition choices you can make under Networx that may deliver more savings, allow you to take advantage of improved technologies Networx partners offer, and add value without raising your costs.
Networx 101: The Basics
GSA’s Networx offers agencies access to major telecommunications companies and industry partners. In total, the federal government buys over $1.3 billion annually in networking and telecommunication services through Networx.
Acquiring services under Networx Universal or Networx Enterprise gives you the ability to focus your agency resources on building seamless, secure operating environments while ensuring access to the best technology industry has to offer to connect your enterprise.
We’ve saved more than $8.4 billion taxpayer dollars (compared to commercial prices) and lowered telecommunications costs for agencies by aggregating and leveraging our collective buying power since 1999 with Networx and FTS2001. We’ve saved about $350 million through the first half of FY13. Last year, the Networx program saved taxpayers over $700M.
Agencies that use Networx save 30%-60% over the cost of most services at commercial rates. This money can go back into agency mission areas.
So, how do we do even better?
Networx 201: Unleashing Better Value
Tip #1—Take advantage of our Unit Pricer and Agency Pricer tools. You can call us at 855-ITaid4U (855-482-4348) or email ITCSC@gsa.gov to request we help run some pricing numbers for your enterprise or project. This allows you to view and compare prices across Networx vendors. We can also show you exactly how much you spend, where it goes, and how much you’ve saved.
Agencies can continuously access new services priced both separately and as a customized solution through contract line item number (CLIN) and fair opportunity ordering. You can see pricing by carrier, which drives down pricing up to 80% over the life of the contracts for some technologies.
Tip #2—Most to-date savings with Networx come from a move away from legacy telecom/network services into newer Networx technologies that offer more for less. So what are some of these technologies that offer better value?
I’ll touch on a few here, but there are others. Please contact your Technology Service Manager (TSM) to learn more about how you can optimize your Networx acquisition choices.
Network-Based IP VPN services account for nearly half of Networx usage today. This is expected as voice, data, and video traffic “converged,” or consolidated, into enterprise-wide IP based wide area networks. If you haven’t explored this service yet, you may want to.
Cloud-based services like Web Conferencing, which provides more benefits than an audio service, requires no capital investment, and is more fully featured since it offers the ability to share information via your desktop.
Common Security Services can increase savings and utility, such as Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Service (MTIPS) since it provides a universal platform to comply with government mandates.
Yes, we’ve seen cost savings and value over the years with Networx. But we don’t have to stop here.
Networx includes all the services that FTS2001 did, but it also has some gems not everyone has found yet. Check out your options thoroughly. Ask questions. Call your TSM. When technologies and services available to us do more, do it better, and cost less, our choices become a lot easier.
Please share comments or additional ideas in the comments section below, or follow us on Twitter@GSA_ITS to join the conversation.