The U.S. Treasury has always been a place where people could find something green, but this time the term is not referring to money. The U.S. Treasury building has obtained a green environmental designation, probably the oldest federal building to earn one. It has reduced its operating costs by $3.5 million annually as a result.

If the Treasury, built first in 1836, can go green and utilize smarter systems management, then most of the rest of government should be relatively easy, according to experts in the field. All it takes is a little ingenuity, a great deal of effort and a desire. And a presidential executive order helps too. Keep reading →

David McClure calls the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) “a little sparkplug igniting innovation all across government.”

Indeed, OCSIT’s just-released 2012 annual report, “More for Mission,” serves as a 51-page catalogue for the office’s multi-pronged push for innovation in technology in the federal government. Keep reading →

With the cost of lighting accounting for more than a third of the energy bills at most federal facilities, officials at the General Services Administration know that it will take more than upgrading to newer florescent and LED lighting to make government buildings more energy efficient. It also means finding ways to efficiently install an array of new and smarter technologies.

The stakes, however, are significant. GSA boasts a portfolio of federal buildings that amounts to nearly 10,000 assets. The upshot, though, is that those buildings offer a rich laboratory to evaluate green technologies. Keep reading →

Governments at many levels have proven themselves to be instrumental in developing both a national and local software-developing community. Competitions like The Big App and Apps for Democracy have spread knowledge of government data sets as well as provided money and recognition to software-development firms. Forward-looking CIOs and CTOs realized that software-both its development and the finished product-could spur innovation and economic activity. They also realized that government could help the software-development community.
This is the fourth in a six-part series examining how innovation and social media are changing how agencies operate, originally published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government. For more news and insights on innovations at work in government, please sign up for the AOL Gov newsletter. For the quickest updates, like us on Facebook.

Though it might sound futuristic, consider: this weekend, you could print your own circuit board. And here’s how you could print a wrench, courtesy of ZCorp. If you to use or modify someone else’s circuits, just look here, and if you need 3D designs, here are a few. As a bonus, here’s a way to turn a $10 laser into a communications station and, related, the GSA repository on GitHub. Keep reading →

GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini said Wednesday that the “supply” agency is working with other agencies to plan for possible sequestration budget reductions since that would mean cutting back on everything from supplies to real estate.

“Our planning is really responsive to the agencies we serve and to get a better sense of how they are thinking about it,” Tangherlini told reporters following a speech at George Washington University. “One of the things we are trying to do is establish a continual framework of communication and see if there are ways we can help [other agencies] manage their way through it.” Keep reading →

If federal CIO’s are judged by how well they lead by example in the social media revolution, then a new study suggests not enough of them are walking the talk.

An analysis of 31 federal chief information officers, just released by MeriTalk, reports that certain federal CIOs are much more engaged than others on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep reading →

I have been trying out the General Services Administration’s new portal for Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts, or GWACs.

There is a lot of useful information here, but the user experience remains uneven and in my experience, there are available tools that could improve the ability to analyze the data.

The new GSA web site says:

A Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) is a pre-competed, multiple-award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract that agencies can use to buy total IT solutions.

The GWAC program has taken their data to the next level by creating an interactive tool that allows GWAC stakeholders to view and segment GWAC information to make better decisions.

Users have the ability to:

  • Explore GWAC data by contract family, federal agency, and industry partner
  • Build customized reports and download them to your computer
The GWAC Dashboard is compatible with Internet Explorer 8 and 9 using Flash Player 14.4.X. If you are using any other version, you may experience usability issues.

The Users Guide contains the footnote:

The Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) Dashboards are intended for informational purposes. The data contained within may not be fully accurate.

The contacts page says:

Request for accessible dashboard content may be directed to herman.lyons@gsa.go.

That may be important to some users, since they, like I experienced, may not be able to download the complete data set. That’s what happened to me, so I contacted the GSA contact, but did not get a response so I downloaded each agency separately and merged them into one spreadsheet 19,168 rows and 18 rows. I also created a data dictionary spreadsheet.

Keep reading →

A top procurement official at the General Services Administration has posted a set of priorities on a GSA website that will guide the agency’s technology services arm as it plans out future procurement strategies.

Kevin Youel, acting assistant commissioner of GSA’s Integrated Technology Service (ITS), said that the principles emerged during a recent discussion with federal chief information and acquisition officers, along with agency deputies throughout the federal government.

The discussion, the agency’s second stakeholder roundtable, focused primarily on setting priorities for GSA’s next generation of network services portfolio and related procurement offerings.

“The discussion gave us guiding principles for the Network Services 2020 (NS2020) Strategy,” said Youel in a blog posted this week. But some of the principles “apply beyond IT, to any government acquisition,” he said.

Youel said GSA shared findings from GSA’s top-down review of previous and current telecommunications contracts, including FTS2001 and Networx, based on meetings with more than 100 stakeholders, and after reviewing market trends and other data analysis.

“Our past outreach shows that GSA needs to match portfolio structure to agency buying patterns,” he said. It also needs to be aligned as well as to industry market segments, he said.

While agencies “value the more than $700 million in savings achieved by Networx in FY12,” he said, GSA “must continue to achieve greater savings through strategic sourcing to keep us in line with the September 20 GAO report that concludes government should do more strategic sourcing.”

Youel summarized the top five principles that emerged from the discussions, which according to his blog post, called for:

1. Deeper government partnerships. Agencies want a spectrum of offerings ranging from complete solutions and managed services to commodity building blocks, with which to build their own solutions. They see value in GSA providing a portfolio of services based upon affinity clusters of services. Contract options brought to the table by other agencies also may be part of the mix.

2. Government and industry success. The more government makes our buys look like big corporate buys, the better we can tie into the market and existing industry capability. This means agency commitment, aggregated common requirements, and price visibility. There are benefits to aligning our portfolio with how industry works, and we need industry to weigh in and work with GSA to achieve this compatibility. Aligning offerings with industry practice and good industry partner communications will reduce transaction costs and benefit all. We discussed how to make incentives, instead of penalties, tied to contractor success, which could improve service to users and build upon the win-win.

3. Expand scope and delivery methods. We discussed the need and value of acquisition and operational efficiency. In developing this portfolio, GSA and agencies are looking broadly at how we aggregate requirements. A framework to weave related services and elements in an efficient way might include Software as a Service (SaaS), mobile applications, and other options. Some agencies are looking for turn-key solutions that offer hands-off management. Agencies are also looking for aggregated service and lower infrastructure costs through identifying common needs.

4. Continue commitment to innovation. We must continue to offer options to support continuous and convenient access to industry partner innovations. Looking at how we refresh technology and pricing could give us steady improvements with fewer heavy lifts. Many times, we can add innovation without developing new acquisitions.

5. Increase transition support and more. GSA can provide tailored customer support throughout the acquisition life cycle, including assistance with acquisition, fair opportunity, and transition processes. The systems and processes we have in place for consolidated and centralized billing have provided operational efficiencies. Enhancing these systems will further drive down government and industry operating costs.

“Our current program provides more than $1.8 billion of networking services to federal agencies,” he concluded. “We continue to enhance our existing portfolio as we plan for the future. An NS2020 Interagency Advisory Panel will guide the strategy work for NS2020 and bring the strategy to the Federal CIO Council, he said.

Keep reading →

The uncertainty of 2012 has many pondering how to plan their federal Architecture, Engineering and Construction pipeline for the coming year. By getting back to basics, companies can balance trends found in three sources – historic federal spending , budget requests, and what potential opportunities are to be released in the next 12 to 18 months – to develop a business development plan for 2013. Keep reading →

The U.S. General Services Administration announced today the availability of a new online dashboard tracking historical information about Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC), including task-order data. The dashboard is designed to assist federal agencies with spending analysis, evaluation of past GWAC performance, and IT acquisition planning.

“Over the past several years we’ve received feedback from our federal agency customers and our small business partners indicating that they need access to GSA’s GWAC task-order data,” said GSA Federal Acquisition Service Acting Commissioner Mary A. Davie. Keep reading →

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