Innovation may be a buzzword commonly bandied about the federal government, but for GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth, it's an ideal.
Fresh off of her agency's first Technology Industry Day, Roth talked to Senior Staff Reporter Carten Cordell about her vision for the new Technology Transformation Service and how GSA is trying to increase collaboration with both agencies.
Can you talk about what the impetus was for the Technology Industry Day and what made you want to reach out to GSA’s private sector partners?
Well this was a big day for us and we did want to have industry in to really talk about what is the future of the Technology Transformation Service. As we were standing up the service, we knew that we wanted to have a dialogue with our stakeholders. As I had one on ones with some of our stakeholders, as well as other leadership in the organization, we realized that it would be even more important for us to have a place where we brought everyone together, try to review some of the questions we received and not the least of which has been some of the inquiries that we received from our congressional hearing as well. That definitely helped to scope and inform our day.
You talked about the vision for TTS before, but can you elaborate on where you see it going as a service for GSA?
My vision for the Technology Transformation Service is to be the space that we are actually providing a demonstration in government of how emerging technology or changes in innovation actually applies in the government space
So that's everything from the implementation, the exploration of what's coming on deck for technology that can be applied in government and then understanding how we can actually make it be adaptive use. But I want for the Technology Transformation Service to serve as that space for government so that we know from a government-wide footprint that we are making that exploration and then we understand the adoption opportunity.
There was a lot of talk about collaboration today, working across agencies
also working across industry
These are broad topics that have been shared government-wide.
Do you feel that GSA is at a kind of fulcrum
point at this move towards collaboration?
I do believe that GSA serves an important integration role in bringing together federal government agencies as well as industry
What we actually want to do and what we would measure success as is that we are creating that pathway. That we understand what the vendor opportunities are, we understand where industry is going and we make the path to getting to federal agencies easier so that our agency partners are actually getting the best quality and opportunity with the services that they need or the products that they need. So we definitely are specifically trying to create that pathway
GSA as an agency overall has really focused on outreach to industry. What are you hoping to hear back from industry in terms of feedback on your initiatives?
GSA definitely is seeking to engage industry in a very active way
And what we are hoping to hear from agencies is information in terms of what more they may need from us in order to provide the best product or services to the federal government agencies. For us that might mean their contracts, it may mean better access, faster access, it could mean any of those things as well as new and improved ideas on how and what we actually can provide to federal agencies. We're looking for all of that feedback
o that we're ensuring that what we provide is actually useful. At the end of the day is that if there's not a value-add that we're bringing to our federal agency partners, as well as industry, then we're not in the right space.
It seems like there's a lot of activity built around making acquisition easier. You mentioned quicker and easier to navigate contracts and initiatives to make the process much more simple for industry?
There is a lot of activity that you see happening at GSA overall. One of the efforts I'll point to is our massive modernization, our multiple award schedule modernization. We have done an end-to-end review of our mass process and have set about looking at sort of the easy lifts of making changes there that is going to provide improved access for maybe those who are not doing business with the federal government currently or for those who are doing business to take out some of the pain points that we are learning of. So you see this type of change in modernization and improvement happening across GSA and it is a very deliberative effort
We're hearing from our customer and we're hearing from our industry partners and trying to adjust to that information.
Do you have a timeline for selecting a new TTS commissioner?
I hope to have a good idea by the end of September of what our direction will be for our new TTS chief.