Roth: Data is key to GSA succcess

Denise Turner Roth.

GSA Administrator-designate Denise Turner Roth awaits Senate confirmation.

Data is the lifeblood of the General Services Administration, according to the agency's acting administrator Denise Turner Roth, and keeping track of it is critical to GSA’s future.

In a May 22 interview with FCW, Roth, who was nominated the day before by President Barack Obama to step up to the agency's full-time administrator slot, said data is key not only to attracting and keeping federal customers for its services, but in managing its myriad moving parts, from IT services to real estate holdings.

Roth stepped into the acting administrator position after Dan Tangherlini left the agency in February to become chief operating officer at the Washington-area real estate investment firm Artemis Real Estate Partners. Tangherlini put a premium on increasing efficiencies, understanding pricing and meeting customers' needs backed by data gathered in increasing amounts by the agency.

Roth, who now awaits Senate confirmation, sees the same value in GSA's moves to harness data to drive efficiencies and cost-effectiveness for its federal customers.

Data can be a catalyst not only for IT systems, but for regional office space development, according to Roth. She is looking to use data to fuel more efficient use of that space, much like the agency's modernization of its downtown Washington headquarters building that employs floating, shared office space for employees.

Gathering and presenting data in ways that allow the agency to design and push out solutions before GSA's federal customers know they need them is a valuable skill the agency will continue to cultivate, she said.

"Government acquisition gateways are about smart purchasing," she said. "They provide a true knowledge base. All the data, either from GSA or elsewhere, is in one place for acquisition" staffs to look through, instead of having to rummage around the Internet or the agency intranet for it.

Roth is also keeping on top of GSA's efforts to build effective large contracting efforts like the agency's NS2020 telecommunications strategy and Alliant 2 government wide acquisition contracts. "We do weekly, monthly and quarterly reviews" of those projects, she said.

"Every week I do some level of deep read" on those efforts and others, she said. "We have to remain vigilant. There are a lot of moving pieces," she said. NS2020 and the expansive $50 billion, 15-year Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contracting vehicle that will undergird it, as well as the agency's development of the Alliant 2 government wide acquisition contracting vehicle, are "all doing well," she said.

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, 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 or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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