Mary Davie is assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services in the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. Davie oversees the management of more than 7,000 contracts and is responsible for the largest fee-for-service IT procurement and services operation in the U.S. government. ()
Across government we are challenged with constrained budgets and acquisition resources while simultaneously focused on improving procurement and ultimately delivering successful projects and programs. The General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Acquisition Services (FAS) is drastically rethinking how we can serve agencies by creating a marketplace that will provide agencies with buying options, access to data and information, access to expertise, an improved buying experience, and at the same time deliver significant savings.
Government's IT marketplace - delivering savings
ITS is government’s go-to source for IT products, services, and solutions. We are committed to helping agencies understand acquisition options and find solutions. In 2013, we set out with an ambitious goal of bringing $1.35B in savings to our agencies and I am happy to report that we were able to meet our goal. Here are some of the savings highlights:
■ The Networx program saved its subscribing agencies $678 million in FY13. One agency is expected to achieve 20 percent cost savings by using Networx.
■ We helped an agency that needed to connect securely to the public Internet with Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Service (MTIPS) to achieve an estimated 20 percent cost savings.
■ Most agencies using GSA’s USAccess Program shared service save between 4 and 9 times the amount it costs to do it themselves.
■ Using the SmartBUY BPAs, agencies saved $775M in software costs compared to commercial prices.
■ The FedRAMP program takes a “do once, use many” approach to Authority to Operate (ATO), which can help save agencies up to a year in time and $100,000 versus conducting their own ATO process.
■ As of September, the new ReverseAuctions.GSA.gov site delivered 17 federal agencies an average savings of 7.27 percent ($161,549 in savings).
It’s no secret that FAS and ITS focus on increasing the use of GSA acquisition solutions and programs by federal, state, local and tribal governments. By using existing contract vehicles that are flexible and customizable, every agency gets what they need but doesn’t have to recreate the basic procurement process. We aim to reduce the need for duplicate contracts, improve consistency in terms and conditions, improve the chance of successful project outcomes, and of course save agencies money. We leverage the full buying power of the government which gives us the ability to negotiate and drive down prices for everyone.
Initiatives to reduce costs in FY14
We’re happy with FY13 results, but this is a marathon and not a sprint, and there is more that we can do. We’re hard at work making FY14 more successful than FY13 with the goal to increase our ability to serve as the government’s marketplace:
■ We want to help agencies make smarter decisions through data: We are piloting prices-paid initiatives for some of our contracts now, including Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition (FCSA) and Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), making prices-paid data available thereby enabling better buying decisions.
■ We have been conducting a full-scale review and “modernization” of the GSA Federal Supply Schedules contracts to ensure they are best suited to meet today’s needs.
■ We are focusing our offerings around “categories of spend” to streamline offerings and channels to the market.
■ In FY13, we set the groundwork to help government through our Managed Mobility Program that includes a managed mobility information center and our FSSI Wireless BPAs to deliver agency savings in FY14. We are reducing price variability on wireless service plans, and less variation will help agencies make better cost-saving business decisions. Agencies can save 15-20 percent on wireless service annually and eliminate mobile device costs entirely since zero-cost devices are bundled with service plans.
■ Finally, we recently launched the Request for Quote on the FSSI Large Desktop Publisher BPAs, part of the SmartBUY program, which will drive even greater savings for government software.
The underlying purpose of each initiative is to allow us to better serve agency customers and deliver more cost savings. And there are more to come. Not only will our FY14 initiatives serve government needs, but prices-paid data, modernization of contracts, and aligning acquisitions to seller buying patterns help industry partners compete, reduce costs, and make it easier to do business with the government.