On July 30 of this year I was honored to be named the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the United States General Services Administration (GSA). The role of CIO here at GSA comes with a legacy of innovation, early adoption and leadership that has led to transformation in how GSA operates. To better serve our stakeholders, we were the first major agency to adopt cloud technologies for enterprise‐wide email , collaboration, cybersecurity management, infrastructure, hosting and application development. We are also a leading agency for data center consolidation , portfolio schedule and cost variance for project performance, driving mobility into GSA technology and operations (through our A3 initiative: Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device ) and adoption of Agile delivery methodologies. As GSA’s CIO, I am focused on making sure we continue to provide high quality Information Technology (IT) solutions, drive use of open source development, use and reuse and services at the best value and that we continue to be the strategic thought leaders in Innovation, Intuitive and Integrated (I3) solutions.
“Throughout the IT consolidation GSA IT found opportunities to streamline the IT environment, reduce duplication, simplify technology and foster an environment of technology reuse”
Consolidation of GSA IT
I arrived at GSA in November of 2012 while the IT organization was undergoing a major transition. After a thorough top‐to‐bottom review of GSA operations, GSA consolidated shared capabilities across the agency, including IT. GSA’s CIO and Deputy CIO began the challenging work of bringing all the agency’s IT functions into one organization, now called GSA IT. This involved restructuring and realigning resources and budgets into a vastly more streamlined, efficient organization. As a result of consolidating, we were able to do more with less.
Providing Better IT Services
Throughout the IT consolidation GSA IT found opportunities to streamline the IT environment, reduce duplication, simplify technology and foster an environment of technology reuse and collaborative sharing . As a result, we were able to reduce IT costs by approximately 20 percent from FY
2013 to FY 2015. This was not done at the expense of performance. As we achieved efficiencies, we shifted resources from running legacy applications and infrastructure to investing in efforts to grow and transform GSA’s business IT systems. Once consolidated GSA IT was positioned to provide better IT services across GSA. Some of the consolidated services included:
● Vendor Management Office—single point of contact for IT vendor management, assistance, procurements, and relationship management driving cost savings while providing value back to the organization.
● Security Provide—efficient GSA IT security, compliance and privacy program capabilities that are sustainable, scalable and flexible in order to support the compliance, operational and business needs for the enterprise.
● Infrastructure—streamlined and standardized infrastructure utility service provider for GSA leveraging virtualization technologies, cloud services and emerging and transformative technologies to deliver low cost, high availability services.
● Data Management—value added, business driven service provider and "go to" resource for enabling data and information needs of GSA and other federal agencies.
● Rationalization of common tools and capabilities—business‐focused, data‐driven methodology to analyze the IT application portfolio to guide IT investment decisions. Over the last 18 months, identified more than $8.8 million in cost avoidance and 30 unnecessary or redundant applications in the GSA Federal Acquisition Services (FAS).
Driving the Organization Ahead
As consolidation draws to a finish, I continue to work with an executive team that built on these successes by laying out a long‐term strategy for the new organization. We developed the GSA IT Maturity Model to evolve us to be increasingly efficient, focused on strategic needs of GSA business, and a thought leader in the realm of technology innovation that effectively drives greater value into the businesses we support.
GSA IT Maturity Model—Long Term Vision
To progress the organization through this maturity, we laid out the following goals:
➔ Operate IT efficiently, by emphasizing business‐focused customer service and outcomes, benchmarking that provides transparency into our delivery of IT service and solutions and cost‐effectiveness, measured in positive business outcomes.
➔ Deliver Business Value, by providing services to the agencies GSA serves, enabling predictive business analytics, maximizing the use of GSA data as an asset, and optimizing business processes through the increasing use of technology.
➔ Lead IT Innovation across the Federal Government through shared services, open data, government‐wide platforms, and becoming a consultant partner to our internal GSA businesses so they can provide better service to our federal partners and other agencies on best practices and solutions.
Key GSA IT initiatives for the upcoming year are working with the Federal Acquisition Service on the modernization of the acquisition process, updating government‐wide systems, modernizing the foundational systems for the Public Building Service, to ready them for the Internet of Things that make up the considerable technology outlay in the federal building inventory and shifting to an enterprise data management and predictive analytics capability so that we can empower decision makers with the real‐time, cross discipline information they need to make good and timely decisions. We are also continuing to pursue and expand key initiatives such as increasing our utilization of cloud storage, the use of and investment in virtual desktop infrastructure, network modernization, and continuing our push on data center consolidation.
The role of CIO at GSA comes with a legacy of innovation and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. I intend to keep GSA IT headed in the same direction that has made it the finest IT organization in the federal government, and expand on the mission of delivering the greatest business value to our internal and external stakeholders as the ever changing technology landscape gives our agency more opportunities to lower costs, optimize and transform the business of GSA and bring increasing value to the federal agencies we serve.