GAO: Agencies are Networx-ready

GAO report on telecommunications transition planning practices

Some agencies are not taking the necessary steps to prepare for moving telecommunications services from the expiring FTS 2001 contract, according to a Government Accountability Office survey.

GAO examined only six departments and agencies, selecting them from a list of the 50 government organizations with the highest monthly telecom bills. All six are generally planning to use sound transition planning practices, but the Energy and Justice departments have deficiencies, according to GAO.

Specifically, Justice officials told GAO they don't believe the department will need any additional funding to make the transition, but could not provide any analytical basis for that conclusion. Energy officials said they believed they didn't need to identify their workforce needs to plan for the transition.

GAO also reviewed plans at the Interior Department, FBI, Bureau of Land Management and the General Services Administration.

Networx will follow the FTS 2001 contracts. Networx is a new multiple award contract that GSA plans to make next year. Most agencies are expected to transition from FTS 2001 to Networx, although they may also choose other contracts for some services.

GSA has learned a great deal about making a smooth transition from its previous experience in the late 1990s of moving agencies from FTS 2000 to the then-new FTS 2001, according to GAO. While individual agencies are in charge of their own transitions, GSA has a central role in planning and coordinating the effort, GAO states.

GAO listed five practices that all agencies planning for transition should use:

  • Establish an inventory of telecom products and services in use.
  • Perform a strategic analysis of telecom requirements.
  • Establish a structured transition management approach.
  • Identify resources.
  • Develop a transition plan.

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