Shared Services

Uncle Sam's List goes public

An online platform for federal agencies seeking to buy services through other agencies will open to commercial providers on Sept. 17.

Launched in spring 2013 by the CIO Council, Uncle Sam's List is a one-stop shop for federal agencies to find and buy shared services. The database, available through the MAX.gov portal, offers a centralized information center to help agencies adhere to the Obama administration's strategy to forgo buying new commodity IT and support services in favor of existing services provided by other federal agencies.

"We're taking it to the public," said Charles Santangelo, co-chairman of the CIO Council's Shared Services Task Force, in an interview with FCW at the ACT-IAC Shared Services Forum on Sept. 16. "All other service providers -- like IBM, Microsoft -- can feed into the list."

He said officials will add an XML feed to Version 1.2 of Uncle Sam's List in the coming weeks to allow easier access to data. The goal is to have as many service providers as possible -- federal and commercial -- that can help federal customers offload some of the routine IT and management tasks, Santangelo said. The site has listings that encapsulate what federal providers offer, including governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) such as Alliant and huge dataset-based services such as the Interior Department's GeoPlatform.

Adding commercial providers to the mix "is a significant breakthrough," IAC Chairman Dan Chenok said. He added that the initiative complements other efforts to provide a wider variety of services to federal customers and is in the same vein as the General Services Administration's plans to develop product-centric portals with associated information on those products, including competing sources such as GWACs.

The need for more agency/industry dialogue and cooperation became evident during last year's ACT-IAC Shared Services Forum, Santangelo said. "A shared-services strategy born of public/private collaboration encourages a balanced and competitive environment," he added.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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