GSA outlines realignment plan

The General Services Administration is combining some operations of the Federal Technology Service with the Federal Supply Service, including moving IT contracts from FTS to FSS, the agency announced Dec. 19.

GSA plans on moving all technology-related governmentwide acquisition contracts, such as Millennia and Millennia Lite, to FSS. GSA spokeswoman Mary Alice Johnson said the agency does not have a complete list of the contracts going to FSS, but it would be compiled by a Contract Vehicle Review Board that GSA is setting up.

The agency, which hired Accenture LLP of New York to analyze operations, plans to combine the marketing efforts of FSS and FTS. GSA also will expand FTS' technical and procurement assistance to non-IT industries. The agency said it will move all marketing efforts to FSS and give FTS the go-ahead to provide contract management support to FSS' professional services schedules, such as Professional Engineering Services and Logistics Worldwide Solutions.

"One of industry's complaints has been that the contracts were duplicative and they had to deal with FTS and FSS to get contracts in place," said Charlie Self, FTS deputy commissioner. "This will streamline service delivery and provide a single point of contact for agencies and industry."

Self said GSA will establish an Office of Professional Services and eventually add staff to assist agencies with the contract administration of non-IT procurements. These changes and others outlined by GSA will take place starting Jan. 12.

About 30 people at FTS who provide support to its GWACs will be moved to FSS, and another 19 people will be moved from FTS' marketing organization to the FSS marketing division.

Donna Bennett, FSS commissioner, said the contract review board would examine all GWACs to better understand who uses them, how they are used and why agencies choose one contract over another.

"There is no target reduction of GWACs," Bennett said. "Industry and our customer expressed concern that there is redundancy in the contract offerings and we want to make sure we need them all."

GWAC contracts now administered by FTS generate less than 1 percent of the division's revenue, Self said.

Mary Whitley, FTS assistant commissioner for sales, said this was a positive move because it allows FTS to sell all IT products and services instead of just those under FTS. She added it will better coordinate the sales strategy by making sure potential customers receive sales calls from one group.

Congress and industry reacted to GSA's decision with optimism.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the Government Reform subcommittee on procurement policy and technology, said this was an important first step to provide best value goods and services to the government. Davis held a hearing in April exploring the overlap of GSA's two most profitable services.

Larry Allen, executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington industry association, said the key will be to manage the contracts effectively and bring those changes in place, which is FSS' job now.

"The two most immediate things you will see is enhanced marketing by FSS and FTS augmenting its offering to provide project management and customer service," Allen said. "We are pleased with these changes and optimistic that in putting so much under control of FSS, we will have truly integrated offerings in IT sector."

Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting Inc. of Jenkintown, Pa., said GSA rationalized its functions, with FSS taking over the industry-facing operations and FTS providing the customer-facing functions.

"One of the very significant things is that FTS is broadening the range of contracts it deals with," Suss said. "[FSS and FTS] also need to talk together to make sure they have the right portfolio of contracts. Unless you get the input from the customer-facing folks, you might end up getting a set of contract vehicles that don't meet the needs of agencies."

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