GSA gives employees Seat preview

Employees of the General Services Administration had their first glimpse of what life will be like under Seat Management desktop outsourcing last week in a presentation sent to offices across the country by multicast and satellite.

Over the next two years, GSA will transition maintenance of all its desktop functions and services to Litton/PRC Inc. Agency officials said they want the change to be as transparent as possible, but there will be some immediate changes that will impact the way GSA employees work. The changes include up-to-date technology on every desktop and a nationwide 24-hour help desk.

Every employee will have at least an Intel Corp. Pentium II 400 MHz system on his desktop with standardized software and hardware, said GSA chief information officer Shereen Remez. Individuals will be allowed to use other applications, but each user level will have a default configuration.

Training for all new hardware and software also will be provided so that "nobody feels left out or feels that sense of helplessness when the darn thing just won't work," said Denis Brown, project manager for GSA Seat Management.

The rollout will start at the Federal Technology Service's new headquarters at Willow Woods, Va., in May.

The GSA central office and the FTS offices in Fairfax, Va., and Lexington, Mass., are scheduled for June. The National Capital Region and the Federal Supply Service's Washington, D.C.-area offices will come online in January 2000, with Regions 1-3 in March, Regions 4-6 in June and Regions 7-10 in September.

Employees who are doing the work that will be moved to Litton/PRC will not get lost in the transition, GSA officials said. They will be encouraged to work in new areas that can add to the agency's mission, including improving agency World Wide Web sites and internal business applications, Remez said.

The challenge to the agency is "to accept the fundamental truth that we have to make this up as we go," said David Barram, GSA's administrator. "It's OK to make some mistakes, but it's critical to fix those mistakes as fast as we can."

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