GSA: Speed up telecom transition planning

Agencies should be hard at work now preparing to shift their telecommunications and network services from FTS 2001 to Networx, said Maria Filios, transition management project manager in the General Services Administration's Office of Service Development.

Speaking at GSA's Network Services Conference in Chicago, Filios said that agencies, if they have not already, need to take an inventory of the services they have through FTS 2001 to establish a baseline. The baseline will tell agency officials -- at individual agencies and at GSA -- just what will have to be moved to Networx, she said.

To help agencies along, GSA is developing a Web-based tool for entering their inventory information online, or else download forms to fill out and return. Then GSA will validate that information against other inventory information from vendors or other sources to begin to clear up apparent inconsistencies.

The last time GSA supervised a transition from one network contract to its successor, the agency did not do a good job of locking down inventory baselines, she said. This time, GSA plans to issue a baseline freeze 30 days after the formal notice to proceed comes out, which will closely follow the award of the Networx contracts next year.

"That doesn't mean you can't continue to order off of FTS 2001," especially for critical needs that can't wait for the full transition, she said. "But the last time, we didn't draw a line in the sand. This time, so we don't have this floating baseline, we're going to take a snap shot at 30 days."

No governmentwide inventory exists, she said. Some agencies have some information, in varying formats, and vendors have their own records of what services they provide to which agencies.

Filios said GSA will closely track the disconnection of services from FTS 2001 as the transition progresses.

"My ultimate goal is to zero out those old contracts," she said. "I can't do that until the disconnect has been accomplished, the disconnect has been reported and the billing goes to zero."

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