Shared Services

GSA working for meaningful shared-services impact

Shared financial management

Shared services are pitched as a solution in an era of declining budgets, but development and adoption in the federal space are taking time.

"The state of shared services needs to be a lot stronger," said Adam Neufeld, deputy administrator of the General Services Administration.

The concept needs sharper definition if shared services are going to work, he added during an Aug. 22 industry day for GSA's Unified Shared Services Management (USSM) component.GSA is working to make the services match agencies' needs and potential providers' capabilities. Neufeld said agencies are still in the early stages of determining which services they need and whether they should get them through another agency.

Beth Angerman, executive director of USSM and longtime point person for federal shared-services adoption, underscored the importance of agencies understanding how and why they should use the approach.

To that end, GSA has been tracking the use of shared services in several ways, including through the various user, provider and managing committees of the Shared Services Governance Board. In addition, Angerman said GSA taps the ProviderStat performance monitoring program to gauge agencies' use of metrics and capabilities.

Spreading the word about shared-services options is another challenge. "People always think of four [federal agency] providers," she said. But there are more.

Ten agencies responded to GSA's call for data on shared-services providers, and those services cover hundreds of smaller applications. Angerman said the market for federal shared services is more than $1 billion a year, and users generally say they have had a positive experience.

However, she told vendors at the industry day that GSA is making sure it has a detailed understanding of the dynamics of federal shared services before opening the market to commercial providers.

This fall, GSA officials plan to expand the ProviderStat effort to gather data in a more structured way, and they plan to release a catalog of federal shared-services capabilities.

In late July, the agency released a request for information to identify potential vendors of payroll services. The deadline for comments is Aug. 29.

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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