GSA site a source for Web services

The General Services Administration launched a World Wide Web site last month that will serve as a reference and gathering place for federal agencies working on migrating business to an electronic environment.

The eAgency Web site builds on a methodology developed by GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy that establishes the technical, policy and business steps needed to move agencies' functions to the Web.

"There's a lot of stuff you have to know as a government professional," said Rich Kellett, director of OGP's emerging Information Technology Policies Division. "It really is an ambitious undertaking to think about what we need to know not only as a professional in the federal government but as an IT professional."

Recent legislation and regulation from Congress and the Office of Management and Budget are driving agencies to move their services to the Internet, Kellett said. The Government Paperwork Elimination Act, for example, requires all federal agencies to provide a way to interact with the public by electronic means wherever possible by 2003.

Information on the eAgency site is available at www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/eagency/eagency.htm. The site is intended to serve as a reference for agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, both of which have services that have direct contact with the public and want to provide benefits online, said Joan Steyeart, deputy associate administrator of OGP's Office of Information Technology. "I think it's really a reinvention of the agency," she said.

Areas covered by the eAgency models and principles are broad, ranging from budgeting and acquisition to security and performance measurement. The site also offers six sweeping "dimensions": leadership and culture, architecture, management, business, technology and policy.

Several key Web projects are included in eAgency, such as the WebGov federal government search portal and the eFunctional site, which will provide functional resources that cut across all agencies. Several "mall" projects where agencies and the public can find out how to buy and sell products and services also are under development at GSA and at the Treasury Department, Kellett said.

The site is a work in progress. A front page outlines the proposed structure, but most of the links have not been filled with back-end information. "It's really something we want to work with the federal agencies on," Kellett said.

In about a month, much of the information GSA has gathered will be included on the site, but Kellett said he hopes to include input and best practices from other government organizations. To gather input, GSA plans to develop a series of eAgency meetings to be held at least once a month, Kellett said.

The eAgency site is not intended to replace or replicate the Acquisition Reform Net, Kellett said, but it is meant to cover the technology, policy, business processes and future needs for an agency's departments and groups. "We're going to try to be that value-added portion," he said.

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