by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Senior Analyst
I recently attended a luncheon where several deputy CIOs from the Defense, Agriculture, and Interior Departments, as well as the GSA IT Transition Executive, spoke about their cost saving initiatives. Besides providing progress reports on their consolidation and optimization efforts, they called on vendors that had extensive footprints within agencies to help them figure out pathways toward intra- and inter-agency shared services. They lamented “one-off” arrangements in cases where solutions could instead be extended across a whole organization. They further advised industry that when you are meeting with government technology executives, pitch how you and your partners can leverage your presence in one segment of the agency and parlay that presence elsewhere within the same organization. This strategy is in keeping with how the government is moving away from fractured approaches to IT in this budgetary environment and more toward cross-agency initiatives.
The White House Fiscal Year 2014 budget request highlights shared services as a key area where they expect to find savings. Consequently, shared services is one of several initiatives that form the centerpiece behind the federal government’s campaign to drive down IT spending by streamlining its assets and taking advantage of cloud computing and other technologies. What this means is that a lot of customer attention will be on ways they can eliminate stovepipes. So far agencies have focused on commodity IT like storage and emails but Steven Van Roekel, the federal CIO, wants the strategy extended to all areas of IT investment.
According to the Shared Service Implementation Guide the goals for implementing shared services are:
- Improve the Return on Investment (ROI) of taxpayer funds across the Federal Government’s services portfolio through the coordinated use of approved interagency shared services;
- Close productivity gaps by implementing integrated governance processes and innovative shared service solutions; and
- Increase communications with stakeholders as Managing Partners, Customers, and Shared Service Providers work together to ensure value for quality services delivered, accountability, and ongoing collaboration in the full lifecycle of interagency shared services activities.
It is important to note that any initiative the government undertakes requires an implementation strategy and this is where you can play a role. If you can position yourself by demonstrating how your solution in Office A can satisfy the very same requirements that Office B and C have, then you will have an advantage over a siloed approach. Also speaking their language is key. If you know why agencies are prioritizing shared services (see goals above), then you can arm yourself with a vernacular that resonates.