GSA: Combine expertise for e-gov

FedBizOpps site

To take advantage of the World Wide Web while facing limited resources and

expertise, the General Services Administration is calling on agencies to

form partnerships that rely on the experience of others.

With few in-house experts, and even less money, agencies need to take advantage

of larger projects already under way and consolidate resources to provide

services via Web portals, said Marty Wagner, associate administrator of

GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

"Try to tie into something larger than yourself," he said at the Interagency

Resources Management Conference in Williamsburg, Va.

A good example of a portal is the FedBizOpps site, which combines procurement

opportunities for more than 15 civilian and defense agencies in a single

place while allowing the agencies to maintain their back-end procurement

systems. "It tries to bring everything together so it looks like one, even

though it is many," Wagner said.

Even single-agency portals can be a good way to combine the offerings of

different offices for citizens or employees, he said.

GSA also is collecting information from agencies for a database of best

practices in electronic government.

As agencies work to move their services to the Web, they are encountering

economic, technical and policy issues that range from determining the cost

and savings of putting a service on the Internet to getting bipartisan support

from Congress for a controversial program, said Joan Steyaert, deputy associate

administrator of GSA's Office of Information Technology Policy.

Several federal agencies, and even more state, local and international agencies,

have already found ways to tackle these issues and get their services up

and running. So GSA wants to gather best practices from all of those sources — not just federal agencies — as a resource for other agencies, Steyaert

said.

Perhaps most importantly, seeing what others have done will enable agencies

to "anticipate some of the problems so you can move ahead without repeating

mistakes," she said.

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