How ITS helps small business make government stronger

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 19, 2013

Small business helps America innovate, create jobs, and grow. These small businesses also play a critical role in moving government forward, and ITS is dedicated to providing ample access and opportunity to connect government to small business. With Small Business Week upon us, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at how ITS is helping small businesses and government work together.

Moving government forward

I’ve worked closely with small businesses for over two decades and I’ve learned that the size of a business has no correlation with its potential impact. I’ve mentioned before that small businesses are the engine for innovation. They have major roles across government in meeting today’s technology demands and requirements. Just in the past couple of years, I have seen small businesses provide:

  • Consolidation of inefficient and costly legacy systems
  • Implementation and integration of cloud technology into agency IT infrastructures
  • 24 hour help desk and support for critical DoD and civilian IT systems
  • Comprehensive life-cycle support to complex IT projects
  • Subscription services to mobile satellite services
  • Access to the most innovative and efficient IT hardware and software
  • Continuous monitoring for cybersecurity

This is just a small sample of how small business has supported government through our ITS solutions, but there are too many to list. The skills, capabilities, and expertise among small businesses are world class, and the variety of ways government utilizes small business shows just how effective these businesses are in supporting agencies’ missions.

How ITS is helping

At ITS, we are dedicated to helping small businesses compete and grow in the federal marketplace. We have a variety of solutions for agencies to access small businesses that allow them  to compete and agencies to meet their requirements in areas like:

It is not enough to just provide access to these small businesses, but we need to help them succeed. We provide training to small business on how to build their federal business and to our large businesses on how to create optimal partnering and subcontracting opportunities.

We are diligently working to provide small businesses all the tools to compete, but the proof of our success in providing opportunities is in the numbers:

  • 85% of vendors on Schedule 70 are Small Business
  • Projected $6.22B small business revenue through Schedule 70 for FY13
  • 100% of small businesses under our Commercial Satellite Communications program have won awards with a total value of over $8M
  • More than $7.6B has been obligated to our SB GWAC program  since its inception including our current Alliant SB, 8(a) STARS II, and VETS GWACs
  • 79% of our largest SB GWAC, Alliant SB, have won task orders
  • $534M has been awarded to small businesses through subcontracting on our Alliant Enterprise GWAC, which is 42% of all subcontracted dollars.

We’re celebrating Small Business Week now, but we continue to be dedicated to the success of small businesses year-round. If you’re interested in learning how you can use a small business to meet your requirements, contact our customer service representatives or leave a message below!

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FY14 IT Budget: Our Run to Daylight

Posted by Mary Davie
on May 1, 2013

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.

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Good To Be Back to ITS….And The Better For It!

Posted by Mary Davie
on March 15, 2013

Serving GSA as the acting commissioner for the Federal Acquisition Service during the latter part of 2012 was an exhilarating ride. It provided a lens into just how important our role is in–and to–the government at all levels: federal, state and local.

I learned about and participated in a variety of initiatives and issues across GSA and many of our customer agencies. Whether it’s providing emergency support during weather emergencies like Hurricane Sandy or helping agencies consolidate space, GSA is fully dedicated to building a stronger, more sustainable government by delivering the best value and savings through partnerships and innovation.

With this new experience, I hope to better serve our customers and save the government money, especially as we deal with critical issues like sequestration, continuing resolutions, and tighter budgets. ITS, FAS, and GSA will play a vital role in helping move our government forward; we must help agencies make the best decisions possible.

I want to thank Kevin Youel Page, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner for ITS,  for keeping us on track while I was gone as we helped the government move towards areas like strategic sourcing for wireless services and devices, pick up the pace on cloud computing adoption, and launch new IT Commodity BPAs that can help save taxpayer and agency dollars.

It’s great to be back at ITS.  I return invigorated and continually dedicated to our customers. Armed with a greater knowledge, I am confident ITS can support government needs, deliver efficient operations, drive world-class value, and be recognized as agile and innovative.

I look forward to working with all of you to help us reach these goals.  Please come back next week….. as I plan to post some thoughts on managed mobility.

Have suggestions on how GSA can help you? Please share your ideas and comment below!

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Cloud and Data Center Consolidation – Bringing together the perfect couple

on February 13, 2013

NOTE: Mary Davie is serving as the Acting Commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). Her Deputy, Kevin Youel Page, has assumed the role of Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Integrated Technology Service (ITS) during this period.

As we move towards Cupid’s day, I thought it was appropriate to highlight the great work GSA is doing to nurture the budding relationship between Cloud Technology and Data Center Consolidation.

Over the past year, GSA partnered with 11 federal agencies to form an OMB sponsored working group–for a little couple’s therapy–to bridge the gap between the two. The team also engaged significant participation from numerous partners from our Alliant  GWAC industry group.

The goal of this working group was to develop five standardized Statement of Objective (SOO) templates for cloud migrations of applications and services modeled upon processes established by the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, with the objective of allowing agencies to “plug in” at any phase of the effort:  enterprise discovery, migration planning, migration, and responsible asset disposal.

By maximizing the power of these contract-agnostic SOOs for Cloud Migration Services, agencies can more easily and efficiently move legacy systems to the cloud and better plan for future development of new cloud applications and strategies.

This allows agencies to realize cost savings more quickly through increased acquisition efficiency, agility, and innovation.  It also decreases the time needed to retire duplicative or inefficient data centers.

As the federal government is navigating its way through the cloud, the effort to migrate services and applications to the cloud sometimes has felt like a rough first date. With cloud efforts taking place independently, the federal government has been missing significant opportunities to leverage best practices, and lessons learned. By bringing together federal cloud leaders and industry experts, we can work together to help solve these issues while saving time and reducing costs to the federal government.

Bringing these two initiatives closer together is a critical step towards a sustainable government. It allows agency CIOs to save money and focus on mission-enhancing technologies by shifting IT investments to more efficient computing platforms, accelerating data center consolidation, and clearly aligning data center consolidation with cloud computing.

Just like Cupid’s bow, our goal is to help government realize that we are better together than apart.

I encourage anyone preparing a cloud acquisition to make use of these documents as well as the programs and expertise GSA has to offer. If you have any questions about these documents or acquiring cloud, feel free to comment below or reach out to our cloud team at CloudPMO@gsa.gov.

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Email as a Service: A Clear Vision into a Cloudy Future

on October 3, 2012

NOTE: Mary Davie is serving as the Acting Commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). Her Deputy, Kevin Youel Page, has assumed the role of Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Integrated Technology Service (ITS) during this period.

GSA’s mission is to help save the government time and money, and as acting assistant commissioner of ITS, I take that to heart.  There’s been a lot of talk recently about what GSA is or isn’t doing to help government IT move to the cloud so I thought I’d weigh in.  Helping government move to the cloud is a priority for GSA. Cloud has the ability to transform the way agencies do their work by making them more agile, effective, and efficient. At the end of 2010, OMB tapped GSA to help lead the way in introducing cloud systems to the federal government. The key was understanding how government could take advantage of the cloud’s transformative power.

Along the way, there have been growing pains for both government and industry; however, the transition to cloud is already saving agencies time and money because of GSA’s ongoing efforts to be innovative, collaborative and creative.

Creating comprehensive solutions

We strive to deliver best value and have been working closely with government and industry to create a comprehensive cloud solutions portfolio for use by government agencies looking to save millions of taxpayer dollars typically spent on IT programs. Since 2009, our solutions enabling the acquisition of cloud include governmentwide acquisition vehicles (GWACs), Networx and Schedule 70. Over the past two years, agencies have purchased approximately $175 million in cloud services using our Alliant contract.

Last month GSA announced the availability of our cloud email solution, the Email as a Service (EaaS) BPA, which will allow agencies to order pre-approved cloud- based tools for email, office automation, and electronic records management, as well as the migration and integration services necessary for a swift transition leading to rapid savings. The BPA offers recurring purchasing options at a reduced cost that is also convenient and efficient.

Cloud based email services support the Obama Administration’s mandates and initiatives to bring cloud services into the federal government and reduce the number of federal data centers, which save taxpayer dollars. We estimate that agencies will save 50 percent, about $1 million, annually for every 7,500 users migrated. Last year GSA was the first federal agency to make the move to the cloud using our Alliant GWAC to migrate 17,000 email accounts, saving $2 million to date, with an estimated savings of $15 million over five years.

What makes EaaS even more exciting is that it will leverage GSA’s innovative security program, Federal Risk Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which uses a “do once, use many times” approach to save agencies time and money by providing a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring. This process allows agencies to avoid the need to conduct its own security assessment, which can cost more than $100,000 and take up to nine months. This could potentially result in $10 million in savings across the government.

Recognizing Innovation

With all the great things GSA is doing, there is still more work to do. I have echoed the challenge of our administrator: when you think you’ve thought big, think bigger. Our cloud team responded by releasing a Cloud Brokerage RFI in August.  This RFI will allow us to pool government and industry’s collective knowledge around cloud acquisition to formulate future innovative and cost-effective solutions.

Cloud Brokerage and our EaaS BPA are already receiving accolades. In fact, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) gave GSA’s collaborative approach to solving the cloud challenge its innovative thinking in government recognition three weeks in a row.

Cloud Migration represents a major shift in the way government conducts business, which means that our acquisition models must continue to evolve. There is a long road ahead, and GSA will be there to support our customers. Our cloud portfolio and efforts to facilitate government-wide cloud migration continues to show that GSA focuses on its core efforts of promoting efficiency, delivering better value, and saving taxpayer dollars.

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Thinking Bigger

on August 21, 2012

NOTE: Mary Davie is serving as the Acting Commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) for 60 days effective July 30, 2012. Her Deputy, Kevin Youel Page, has assumed the role of Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Integrated Technology Service (ITS) during this period.

This is my first blog post, so I will start with a brief introduction. I am Kevin Youel Page and it is a great honor to serve as the Acting Assistant Commissioner in Mary’s absence. Like all of us here at ITS, I believe in a great government through technology.

Prior to joining ITS, I spent time as a GSA customer as well as in industry with large and small companies. In my new role, I remain steadfastly committed to saving agencies time and money, while serving as a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars. If we keep the ideals of speed to savings and innovation in service of customer missions as our north star, we will be achieving our mission.

Federal IT has reached an exciting juncture as we search for new ways to take agencies to the cloud. OMB’s IT 25 Point Reform Plan and Cloud First Policy represented a turning point as agencies began to realize that the cloud could save them significant time and money. GSA has been working with agencies to realize those savings by

  • streamlining the acquisition process through new vehicles like the IaaS BPA and our longstanding GWACs,
  • establishing standardized cloud security through FedRAMP, and
  • sharing our own best practices through providing sample Statements-of-Objectives and Statements-of-Work.

Despite all of the great work that we’ve done to date, there is still more that we can do. We must continue to challenge ourselves to be innovative and to explore new acquisition models. As our acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini recently said, “Just when you think you’ve thought big, think bigger.”

We took Dan’s words to heart and submitted a Request for Information (RFI) to gather industry feedback on the concept of a cloud broker. A cloud broker is an entity that manages the use, performance, and delivery of cloud services, while negotiating relationships between cloud providers and consumers. The RFI positions us to collaborate with industry leaders in creating a cloud strategy that could enable agencies to increase asset utilization and lower IT infrastructure costs.

Following the RFI release, we hosted a Cloud Brokerage Industry Day to answer questions and listen to what people had to say. Thought leaders in federal cloud computing like Keith Trippie, the Executive Director of Enterprise System Development Office in the Department of Homeland Security, and Katie Lewin, GSA’s Cloud Computing Program Director at the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, led a moderated Q&A discussion with over 160 participants. The RFI, presentations, and Q&A responses can be found on our Cloud webpage. Due to the enormous interest displayed and volume of feedback received, we have extended the deadline to respond to the RFI to September 7.

This was an exciting event because cloud migration represents a major change in the way that government does business, which means that our acquisition model must continue to evolve to respond to the shift. It will not be simple or easy, but GSA remains committed to paving the way to help agencies find innovative and cost-effective acquisition solutions, and I ask industry to join us in accepting this challenge. We are excited to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Please help us continue this conversation by joining my colleague Mark Day, Director of Strategic Programs at ITS, and a major contributor to the Cloud Brokerage model, for a Twitter Chat on August 28, 2012, from 2:30 – 3:30 pm EDT by following us @GSA_ITS.

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Defining the Future of Government IT

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 18, 2012

Last week, GSA had the pleasure of hosting a roundtable in Washington, DC that brought together federal CIOs, CTOs, and thought leaders in technology from the public and private sectors. Together, they discussed the future of government IT, and how agencies should respond to shrinking budgets and increased expectations for workplace efficiency.

Owing to the growing disparity between shrinking budgets and the need for emerging technologies, agency CIOs are under increasing pressure to do more with less. This presents a significant challenge and a unique opportunity for GSA to bring agencies together to identify major IT challenges, share industry best practices, and develop innovative acquisition solutions to move government IT forward.

Mission-enhancing technologies

Participants at the roundtable identified the need for mission-enhancing technologies such as mobility, cloud, video, and agency-specific mobile applications to help agencies achieve improved workforce productivity. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has led the charge in defining a strategy for mobility and cloud through the 25-point IT reform plan, “cloud-first” policy, and Digital Government Strategy; however, strategies for both video and apps are still in their infancy.

These initiatives, combined with the current budget environment, have created a climate favorable to adopting mission-enhancing technologies. Implementation has encountered challenges, however, because resources are locked in legacy systems, and agencies frequently duplicate efforts to meet similar requirements. In fact, several CIOs at the roundtable reported a belief that infrastructure requirements are more common than dissimilar across agencies. Participants expressed interest in moving more basic requirements such as backbone networks to a service-based model.

In order to move government forward, agencies must find ways to shift their resources from legacy systems to emerging technologies, and deal with security and the consumerization of IT, while eliminating duplication by transitioning to government-wide shared services. The move to shared services will reduce costs by eliminating redundancy and leveraging the buying power of the federal government.

The industry participants are using IT as a strategic business asset to build competitive advantage through human resources, reduction in space/facilities, improving business processes, and enabling information sharing and mobility.

How GSA is stepping up to the plate

Roundtable participants frequently cited GSA as a key partner in helping to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency through programs like the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which was launched last week. FedRAMP provides agencies with a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring by utilizing a “do once, use many” approach that simplifies the security approval process for cloud providers, thereby saving agencies precious time and money.

We have also helped agencies meet government-wide requirements through our Networx contract that has resulted in a savings of about $7.7 billion since 1999 as compared to commercial telecommunications prices.

Agencies are asking GSA to step up to the plate by leading the shift to mission-enhancing technologies. FedRAMP and Networx are two examples, but there is still work to be done. Government must continue working with agencies and industry to define requirements and develop IT acquisition solutions that enable agencies to get more for their mission. Meetings like last week’s roundtable help position GSA as a leader in driving that process.

Do you have an idea of how government can help eliminate duplication and leverage requirements? Post in the comments section below or follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

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IT and Change Management in the Federal Workplace

Posted by Mary Davie
on May 1, 2012

Now that I’ve passed the one-year mark in writing this blog, I can look back and see what a tremendous opportunity this has been. I’ve had the chance to comment on how IT can help make government more efficient and sustainable, address the potential cost savings of IT procurement, and explain how government can achieve these savings by adopting new IT delivery models such as cloud computing and shared services.

One area that’s often overlooked during this time of change and technological innovation is the impact new technology has on federal workers. To achieve the positive effects I’ve been discussing, government leaders need to keep our entire workforce engaged with new technology. At GSA, we’ve made great progress modernizing our technology and preparing our employees to use it.

The benefits of workplace innovation

We are beginning another technology sea change with the transition to mobile government. Mobile government will be more mission-capable and responsive to the needs of the taxpayers. That’s because mobility connects employees with each other and releases them from traditional, static office space, enabling work from anywhere, at any time. Embracing mobile technology allows government to eliminate redundant systems, consolidate office space, be more sustainable, and increase the productivity of our workforce.

However, our progress should be measured by business results resulting from workers leveraging technology, not by the number of changes in and of themselves. For example, providing mobile access to employees through secure VPN and laptops is not enough. The government workforce is diverse and multi-generational, and some will have more familiarity with the technology than others. That means we need to provide training and change management that’s appropriate for employees of all backgrounds.

GSA is balancing change and engagement

GSA understands the benefits of training and enabling our employees to do more with technology. Our CIO team, led by Casey Coleman, has conducted change management programs to educate and engage employees for several new enterprise systems. For example, change management played a huge role in successfully migrating more than 17,000 GSA users from our in-house Lotus Notes e-mail system to cloud-based Google e-mail, which helped us save 50% on the cost of e-mail and decommission 45 servers.

Most recently, GSA has begun using Salesforce Chatter as an enterprise-wide internal collaboration tool. In just the past few months, Chatter has become a primary communications channel for thousands of GSA employees, enhancing the way we communicate as an agency through increased collaboration and sharing of information. We’re measuring our adoption rates for Chatter through number of posts, frequency of specific hashtags, and number of groups created. We’re finding that people across the agency can tap into expertise and knowledge in a matter of minutes in some cases and that helps us better serve our public sector partners.

GSA prepared for both Google e-mail and the Chatter rollout with mandatory online training, on-site help desks, “reverse mentoring” for our executives, and self-help videos. We also made it as simple as possible to get into these programs by using single sign-on so employees can use their existing usernames and passwords.

I invite you to share your own experiences and best practices by leaving a comment, or sending me a tweet @Marydavie.

I will also be at the annual GSA Training Conference and Expo in San Antonio from May 14-17. The EXPO is a unique opportunity to attend training and talk to GSA experts and our vendor partners about technologies like mobility, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. For more information, please visit the Expo  webpage.

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Government’s Mobile Moment

Posted by Mary Davie
on February 7, 2012

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.

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GSA Puts Sharing First

Posted by Mary Davie
on December 23, 2011

Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel described his path forward for federal IT in a policy speech in Silicon Valley this October and again in the draft Federal IT Shared Services Strategy released just this month. He articulated a “Shared First” paradigm that will lead agencies to root out waste and duplication by sharing IT services, infrastructure, procurement vehicles, and best practices.

As the go-to partner for acquisition, GSA can help agencies go “Shared First”. We are ready to leverage our deep experience in working with customers across government to address their most challenging IT acquisition problems.

Shared IT services

The draft Shared Services Strategy requires agencies to move two “commodity IT services”—back-office IT services common to every agency—to a shared environment by December 31, 2012.

We have provided shared IT services to dozens of agencies over the years. For example, over 90 federal agencies use our USAccess identity management service to issue and manage their employee ID cards.

We are excited to help customers think about how to further consolidate their IT systems.

Shared infrastructure

Before the Federal Data Center Consolidation initiative, the federal government warehoused its data in over 3,000 data centers, tying up outsized amounts of capital and real estate and resulting in higher emissions.

According to VanRoekel, the federal government will close 1080 data centers by the end of 2015, with an estimated cost savings of $3 to $5 billion. GSA is working with agencies to achieve these savings by migrating to shared infrastructures through our data center services and cloud solutions.

Using a shared infrastructure also enhances service, since agencies can rapidly scale their capabilities up and down to match their mission needs, and recover more quickly after an emergency.

Shared procurement

Agencies also use GSA vehicles to minimize their contracting overhead. The State Department has done this by consolidating more than 100 existing task orders down to four through our Alliant and Alliant Small Business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) for a secure network infrastructure.

When agencies buy alone, they also miss out on the volume discounts available when the government pools its buying power. Customers can get these kinds of discounts from the SmartBUY software program. GSA is also defining new ways for federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations to aggregate their demand by buying IT products as a commodity.

Shared best practices

GSA helps agencies use current best practices in contracting by posting sample statements of work (SOWs) for many of our contracts, such as Alliant and Connections II.

To support common standards, we aligned two GWACs (Alliant and Alliant Small Business) with the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) and Department of Defense Enterprise Architecture (DoDEA). This means agencies can more easily use past SOWs and report their IT investments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It also means that the scope of both GWACs grows and changes as vendors’ technology capabilities grow and change, without requiring a technical refresh.

Give us your feedback

I encourage everyone involved in government IT acquisition to review the federal Shared Services Strategy (PDF) and provide comments. For background, you can watch VanRoekel’s speech or read a transcript. I’d like to know how you plan to use a “Shared First” approach for your agency – please leave a comment or find me on Twitter!

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