GSA seeks to upgrade its electronic travel service
Agency wants to save money through the travel program and remind federal travelers to think 'green' when planning trips
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Aug 30, 2010
The General Services Administration wants pioneering approaches to improve its E-Government Travel System (ETS).
For their customers, GSA officials want an end-to-end management service that automates the travel process securely over the Internet. They also are looking to incorporate emerging technology from cloud computing. The new management system, known as ETS2, is positioned to integrate on-demand service, ubiquitous network access, data-driven transparency and a little “green” thinking, according to a request for proposals from GSA.
ETS2 deals with all aspects of official federal business travel. It includes travel planning, authorization, reservations, ticketing, expense reimbursement, and travel management services.
As customers plan trips agency officials want to remind them of the government’s sustainability programs, letting travelers know about their effect on the environment as they travel and then offer alternatives for the trip. GSA also intends to tell travelers to recognize their role as a “supply -chain aggregator” that can influence the market toward environmental sustainability, the RFP states.
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“By bringing collaboration options such as enabling telepresence and Web conferencing directly to the user at the point of decision, we can further fulfill the government’s commitment to minimize its environmental footprint,” said Steve Kempf, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
GSA also plans to collect and report the data on emissions, based on customers’ travel choices, according to the RFP.
The primary objectives for ETS2 are consolidation, improved usability, data-driven transparency, and total cost savings for travel spending for the government. The program will have saved the federal government about $345 million in civilian agency travel management costs over the life of the contract, according to GSA.
The service model was chartered through a cross-agency collaborative task force that included GSA, more than 70 agencies, and the Office of Management and Budget. Since its inception in 2003, the program has consolidated and automated back-office travel management by having civilian agencies buy in bulk.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.