GSA to open optimization office

Officials plan to combine programs and activities, offer green initiatives.

A procurement expert warned against allowing reorganization efforts to detract from the core responsibilities of the General Services Administration’s Integrated Technology Service.

As GSA officials are creating an Office of Infrastructure Optimization to consolidate several technology programs into one unit, Larry Allen, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said ITS has a small staff, and because of that, some major projects, such as Alliant and Alliant Small Business governmentwide IT contracts, aren’t running at full speed.

In the new office, officials plan to combine programs and activities, including handling data-at-rest and antivirus software offerings through the SmartBuy program.

The office also will include an Identity Management Division that combines GSA’s Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 program management office and e-authentication division, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner of ITS at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

Johnson said he expects to have the infrastructure optimization office in place by August, and he has picked Fred Schobert, chief technology officer at ITS, to lead it.

The reorganization is an attempt to find natural places to meld various initiatives and operations — such as e-authentication and HSPD-12, which require federal employees and certain contractors to have identification cards — and provide comprehensive solutions for its customers, Johnson said.

Reshaping the office will allow GSA to offer green products to agencies, Johnson said at Input’s State and Local Marketview conference.

“We do have an opportunity to really shape” the government’s green initiatives by considering how GSA supplies its customers with products and services, Johnson said.

The fee-for-service agency has always looked for ways to be more efficient and offer products and services geared toward saving energy, such as fleets of fuel-efficient vehicles and energy-saving information technology products, Johnson said.

With minimal appropriations from Congress, GSA has to adapt to the market and offer attractive products.
“To continue to attract customers, we have to be forward-thinking in making sure that what we offer is what they need,” Johnson said.

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