Improved Software Policy through Category Management Best Practices

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 6, 2016

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced its latest policy leveraging Category Management, this time focusing on software as a means to drive greater efficiency in how we buy and manage mission-critical IT solutions while saving taxpayers’ money.

In order to meet federal agencies’ increasing demands and expectations, the government must come together as one to identify our common needs and maintain the highest levels of quality in the products and services we purchase to meet those needs.

This latest policy advances ITS’ use of industry best practices beyond what we’ve already implemented with computers and mobile devices and expands the great work we’ve done with software solutions. Expanding to better manage software enables us to better handle the billions of government dollars spent in this category.

We are part of the Enterprise Software Category Team and have already been working diligently to improve efficiencies in the software contracting space.

Geospatial Software Success

As an excellent example of Category Management success, in January we announced that our Office of IT Schedule 70 had worked closely with other agencies and the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) on a modification to their existing Schedule 70 contract. This effort resulted in improved efficiency, pricing, terms and conditions, and transparency, better managing the government-wide $294 million annual spend on geospatial software licenses. Esri is a principal among our industry partners as they capture $74 million of the annual federal spending on geospatial software.

With a few months under our belt, we are already seeing positive outcomes and are happy to report that agencies are already saving 10-14 percent on over $100 thousand worth of orders since the agreement was signed. We are estimating that the federal government will save over $1.5 million in FY 2016 and over $3 million in future years.

Salesforce Services Success

Late last year, we announced the award of the Salesforce Implementation, Integration, and Support Services (SIISS) BPA. Working closely with our customer agencies, industry partners, and the GSA Office of Information Technology, we developed – a governmentwide blanket purchase agreement (BPA) to centralize and streamline $503 million in IT Schedule 70 awards over five years. This BPA brings all Salesforce-related professional services, from development to implementation, under one easy-to-use acquisition vehicle.

Since launching this initiative, there has been a flurry of positive activity. Key among them is that multiple customer agencies are close to finalizing procurements leveraging the BPA.

We are also excited about several new Salesforce applications created this year that are now in queue to be packaged and placed on GSA Labs, a common repository of applications that leverages existing efforts and reduces duplication. Some of these applications include a vendor management module (VMO), executive business case tracking (EBC) and the presidential innovation tracker currently under development.

Based on feedback from partner agencies, GSA IT is creating a new utility that will organize the government’s existing Salesforce applications into one easy to read virtual library. This utility will provide a more comprehensive view of the different Salesforce implementations while reducing the burden on partner agencies by allowing them to only package applications in high demand.

Looking Forward

Using these as models of success, we look forward to continuing our work with OMB and other federal agencies to analyze the possibilities of other targeted agreements with our suppliers, looking for further opportunities to leverage the government’s buying power, reduce duplication, and bring significant spend under management. Innovative, Category Management-focused projects like these help agencies better meet their missions with direct and positive impacts for U.S. taxpayers.

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