Uncle Sam's List goes public

The formerly feds-only project is a one-stop shop for agencies to find and buy shared services.

An online platform for federal agencies seeking to buy services through other agencies will open to commercial providers on Sept. 17.

Launched in spring 2013 by the CIO Council, Uncle Sam's List is a one-stop shop for federal agencies to find and buy shared services. The database, available through the MAX.gov portal, offers a centralized information center to help agencies adhere to the Obama administration's strategy to forgo buying new commodity IT and support services in favor of existing services provided by other federal agencies.

"We're taking it to the public," said Charles Santangelo, co-chairman of the CIO Council's Shared Services Task Force, in an interview with FCW at the ACT-IAC Shared Services Forum on Sept. 16. "All other service providers -- like IBM, Microsoft -- can feed into the list."

He said officials will add an XML feed to Version 1.2 of Uncle Sam's List in the coming weeks to allow easier access to data. The goal is to have as many service providers as possible -- federal and commercial -- that can help federal customers offload some of the routine IT and management tasks, Santangelo said. The site has listings that encapsulate what federal providers offer, including governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) such as Alliant and huge dataset-based services such as the Interior Department's GeoPlatform.

Adding commercial providers to the mix "is a significant breakthrough," IAC Chairman Dan Chenok said. He added that the initiative complements other efforts to provide a wider variety of services to federal customers and is in the same vein as the General Services Administration's plans to develop product-centric portals with associated information on those products, including competing sources such as GWACs.

The need for more agency/industry dialogue and cooperation became evident during last year's ACT-IAC Shared Services Forum, Santangelo said. "A shared-services strategy born of public/private collaboration encourages a balanced and competitive environment," he added.

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