Study: GSA serves agencies well

Accenture study

No major problems exist with how the General Services Administration serves its agency customers and industry partners, according to a four-month study by Accenture.

Nevertheless, all three parties would be better off if GSA's Federal Supply Service and Federal Technology Service combined their back-end functions, such as marketing and customer account management, the study found.

GSA commissioned the study in January to examine the possible harm caused by potential duplication of information technology offerings between the two services and to suggest any areas for improvement.

The study found no evidence that agencies are not getting best-value solutions from GSA. In fact, it showed that they prefer the range of solutions available through FSS and FTS, particularly the difference between the "self-service" FSS schedules and the "assisted-service" FTS offerings.

But Accenture did find many opportunities for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of GSA's offerings, mainly by improving coordination between the two services.

"GSA is meeting customer needs, addressing the right issues, providing essentially the right products and services, and being managed by people who are committed to delivering best value," according to the Accenture report. "The recommendations provided should be seen as means to achieve the next level of customer service to which GSA aspires, not as steps to fix a debilitating problem."

The Accenture recommendations cover four areas:

* For all IT and telecommunications offerings, combine and realign such functions as market research, marketing, customer account planning and management, sales, service delivery, and contract development and maintenance.

* Rationalize the overlapping IT contracts offered and provide customers and industry partners a better explanation of the differences.

* Ensure internal incentives are in place to foster cooperation between the services on IT offerings.

* Expand the "value-added" services offered by FTS, such as contracting assistance, to non-IT product lines within GSA.

The study also raised the point addressed at an April 11 hearing on potential contract overlap within GSA that contract overlap is an issue that must be addressed across government.

"It is important to note that GSA is not alone in the proliferation of contracts.... Many federal agencies offer their own [governmentwide acquisition contracts]," the report states. "Even a significant contract rationalization effort by GSA would have little impact on the total number of contracts in place in the federal IT marketplace."

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