Navigating the Future of Mobile Services

Posted by Mary Davie
on December 15, 2016

(This blog post reflects my perspective as the government-wide IT Category Manager)

Today, the federal government spends more than $1 billion annually on mobile services. An agile and evolving federal workforce is driving an ever-increasing need for agencies to have the ability to meet their missions, and do their work securely anywhere, anytime, and on any device in order to serve U.S. citizens.

Fast-changing mobile technology and increased demand are putting pressure on agencies to determine how best to acquire, maintain, and manage mobile resources. So government needs a mobile plan that looks ahead. And that’s just what the Mobile Services Category Team (MSCT) aims to accomplish.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Category Management Leadership Council (CMLC) set up the MSCT to develop and implement a government-wide strategic plan to increase efficiency and drive savings related to acquiring government mobile services. The cross-agency team looks at how agencies can best navigate the future of mobile services. OMB, GSA, and the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State lead the MSCT.

While they’re taking input from agencies across government and industry, the MSCT has already accomplished several goals, such as establish strategic objectives, prepare mobile device guidance, make plans for a mobile brokerage feasibility study, incorporate industry partners’ insights and expertise, and are taking on mobile reporting and data management.

MSCT Roadmap and Guidance

OMB’s August Mobile Services and Devices memo (M-16-20) assigns several responsibilities to the MSCT, and the first three are now complete. Documents from these tasks are posted on the Telecommunications Hallway in the Acquisition Gateway.

1. Mobile Services Roadmap – The MSCT published the roadmap so agencies can develop mobile tools and solutions that will conform to Category Management principles and best meet agency and user needs. It focuses on general-use needs similar for most agencies (also known as core commodity services). It also identifies another primary needs segment that requires customizing based on agency and mission. This second segment focuses on mobile applications and complex mobile solutions such as security and ID credentialing.

2. Mobile Device Procurement and Management Guidance – This guidance helps agencies select, procure, manage, and dispose of mobile devices. It focuses on what agencies can do to more efficiently manage devices, reduce costs, simplify processes, improve contractual terms, and meet government green initiatives.

3. Mobile Services Brokerage Model Feasibility Study: Project and Implementation Plan – This document explains how the MSCT will conduct a feasibility study for possible use of a brokerage approach to agency mobile acquisition efforts. Typically, smaller agencies have fewer in-house resources. The brokerage approach could support them by providing external support. MSCT’s goal is that no agency be left behind while improving management of mobility government wide.

MSCT Strategic Objectives

The MSCT has three primary objectives:

  1. Standardization – Define a common set of plans, devices, terms, conditions, and other mobility attributes that apply across contractors and agencies to drive competition based on quality and price.
  2. Simplification – Make it easier for agencies to acquire and manage mobility services and devices.
  3. Savings – Further reduce costs for wireless carrier services and other mobility category services.

Insights from Industry Partners

MSCT solicited and incorporated industry partners’ insights and feedback. In response to the RFI issued earlier this year, wireless carriers, systems integrators, and technology leaders gave their list of priorities:

  • Simplify core product offerings to reduce complexity and cost
  • Support ancillary service offerings and have flexibility to use open market offerings to streamline procurements
  • Have standard terms and conditions that require less negotiation and have already been validated across the federal government
  • Use self-service ordering, service options, and a suite of templates to increase speed and quality of fulfilling orders and responding to bids
  • Allow the ability to add new services to contracts in days and weeks, rather than months

Common Data Structures, Enhanced Data Collection

The MSCT is also tackling mobile reporting and data management. Billing records contain data to assess if agencies are overpaying or under-using mobile resources. Sharing data will strengthen our ability to make intelligent and informed decisions at the agency level and government-wide. In the future, we will focus on data quality and accuracy to help the IT category deliver strategies that maximize value and savings for the government.

Continuing to Collaborate

The MSCT is ready to work with agencies and industry in fiscal 2017 to improve and streamline mobility acquisition. Want to know specifics? Read the Strategic Roadmap.

Have questions or want to provide feedback? Contact wireless@gsa.gov.

Also, please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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GSA and Adobe Deliver Streamlined Data Security and Electronic Signature Solutions for Government

Posted by Mary Davie
on December 8, 2016

In my last blog post about geospatial software solutions, I described the great benefits associated with agencies leveraging our special Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) software enterprise licenses agreements (ELAs).

Today, I want to expand on our recent GSA press release announcing a government-wide enterprise software acquisition for Adobe’s data-centric security and electronic signature solutions. We completed this award in close coordination with a number of federal agencies, Adobe, and their reseller, Carahsoft. The agreement continues our support of FITARA through enabling greater efficiencies, significant cost savings, and additional data security.

The agreement comes in the form of an enhancement to Carahsoft’s Adobe GSA IT Schedule 70 contract, supports the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Category Management Policy 16 – 1, Improving the Acquisition and Management of Common Information Technology: Software Licensing (M-16-12), by reducing duplication of enterprise software agreements, improving pricing and better leveraging the government’s buying power.

In addition to helping agencies meet FITARA, this agreement will also help agencies address Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies (MEGABYTE) Act guidelines around leveraging government-wide software license agreements for mission-critical federal agency solutions.

This will also help agencies comply with current information security and electronic government policy recommendations and requirements, including the revised OMB Circular A-130, Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), Cybersecurity Strategy & Implementation Plan (CSIP), Cybersecurity Act of 2015, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and the E-Sign Act of 2000.

This is a significant step forward in protecting high-value assets while supporting the faster transition to an electronic government. We applaud Adobe’s willingness to work with GSA to make this opportunity a reality.

Here’s what Increased Acquisition Efficiency for Data Security and Electronic Signatures looks like:

  • Developed by a tiger team led by GSA and made up of key government Adobe users, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as Adobe and Carahsoft
  • More than $350 million in potential cost savings for the federal government
  • Tiered discounts by leveraging the buying power of the federal government
  • Reduces contract duplication and administrative cost with clear Terms & Conditions
  • Securing Government Data: Adobe AEM products support Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC) and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to enforce granular access to sensitive content, matching data access rights to the properly authorized person and their need to know. This additional layer of protection allows organizations to secure high-value assets.
  • Transitioning to Electronic Government: The offering provides solutions like Adobe Sign that enable users to replace paper processes with fully automated electronic signature workflows. Users can easily send, sign, track, and manage signature processes using a browser or mobile device.

This is another great example of federal acquisition excellence and category management principles using cross-agency collaboration to streamline acquisition, create greater transparency, and save taxpayer dollars. This new software offering is available to all federal, state, local and tribal government agencies eligible to order from the GSA IT Schedule 70 program. You can access IT Schedule 70 here on the Acquisition Gateway.

Also, please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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ITC Continues to Lead Innovation – Geospatial Software Contracts Reach New Heights

Posted by Mary Davie
on December 5, 2016

Geospatial Software Success with Esri

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions ‒ as part of GSA’s role in implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) ‒ we’re incorporating cutting-edge, new, and innovative IT ideas and solutions into our programs, contracts and processes. We’re also expanding our work in information technology (IT) Category Management.

Last year the Enterprise Software Category Team worked with Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) to modify Esri’s GSA Schedule 70 terms and conditions for geospatial software Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs), resulting in improved efficiency, pricing, terms and conditions, and transparency

Modifying Esri’s IT Schedule 70 contract for single license agreements to a “FITARA ELA” was smart and prudent. In fact, the solution started recognizing savings immediately. Esri captures $74 million of the government-wide $294 million annual spend on geospatial software licenses.

Beyond the benefits to agencies utilizing ELAs, federal agencies currently use the standard license agreement (SLAs) receive a 10% discount; approximately $2 million in savings during fiscal 2016. They can see even greater savings by converting to the FITARA ELA.

Saving More with the GSA FITARA ELA

FITARA, passed by Congress in December 2014 and implemented at the beginning of 2015, helps government agencies optimize the cost of IT ownership through better management. Our FITARA solution provides government-wide savings based on the aggregate purchase for all federal agencies. This solution also affords large-volume discounts for agencies, regardless of the number of licenses. For instance, a small department needing only a few licenses can take advantage of the same discounts as a larger organization requiring more software.

By cost savings alone, the new government-wide FITARA ELA will potentially save American taxpayers millions of dollars. Moreover, the FITARA ELA not only saves millions of dollars, but it also:

  • Improves efficiencies by eliminating the need for separate negotiations;
  • Reduces administrative costs by implementing a single set of terms & conditions across government;
  • Offers tiered discounts by leveraging the buying power of the federal government;
  • Benefits from increased price transparency; and
  • Provides government agencies access to the agreement, as well as software management best practices in the software hallway on the Acquisition Gateway.

Non-ELA agencies that move to an Esri FITARA ELA save, on average, 50% by signing a FITARA ELA with Esri.

Existing ELA agencies can switch to an Esri FITARA ELA by processing just an administrative modification ‒ one more paragraph added to your existing ELA contract. There is no need to recompete; the turnaround process averages about 24 hours. These agencies will receive at least an additional 3% in savings on ELA payments starting January 2017, due to more than $30 million spent through current licensing agreements sales and based on tiered discounts (3% savings for $30 million threshold).

Agencies already completing the switch to Esri FITARA ELAs include:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of the Air Force (Civil Engineer)
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Interior
  • Department of Transportation (Federal Aviation Administration)
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. National Guard (Army/Air Guard)
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Based upon how agencies buy between single and enterprise license agreements by the end of the fiscal year, we’re expecting a 5-6% overall savings when agencies fully roll onto the Esri IT Schedule 70 contract.

Benefits to the Government

We continue to look for opportunities to partner with our suppliers on targeted agreements and bring more savings to government agencies. What is more, the government benefits through reduced duplicative contracts, allowing our industry partners to bring innovation to the federal marketplace faster and change the government discussion from procuring technology to transforming enterprises.

We appreciate Esri being the first to offer a government-wide ELA, giving government agencies the opportunity to benefit from this partnership. Through the FITARA ELA, federal agencies:

  • Save on future products. New products that are released will automatically be available at no additional charge.
  • Tap into different training venues at no additional cost.
  • Stay up-to-speed on current technology and get exposure to best-in-class solutions.
  • In the event of a disaster, receive disaster support around the clock.

Stay tuned as we will be announcing another FITARA based ELA very soon!

For more information visit us on the Acquisition Gateway.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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