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 (FSS) and Federal Technology Service (FTS) combined their back-end functions, such as marketing and customer account management, the study found.

GSA commissioned the study in January to examine the harm, if any, caused by potential duplication of information technology offerings between the two services and to suggest improvements. This initiative is part of the agencywide management reform effort aimed at ensuring that "GSA is providing the best value to its agency customer and the taxpayers," said Steve Perry, GSA administrator, at an April 11 hearing on potential contract overlap within the agency.

Now that the study is complete, GSA is putting together a team to discuss the recommendations and develop a plan to implement them, said Bill Bearden, a spokesman for the agency. The team will be composed of a diverse group of GSA officials, who will move as quickly as possible on the plan, he said.

The study found no evidence that agencies are not getting best-value solutions from GSA. In fact, it showed that agencies prefer the range of solutions available through FSS and FTS, particularly the choice 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.

The study also echoed a point raised at the April hearing 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 stated. "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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