GSA should run IT 'storefront' not schedules, Kundra says

The federal CIO says federal procurement needs to keep up with rapidly changing technology

As part of a revamping of the federal procurement system, the General Services Administration could replace its schedule contracts with a Web-based “storefront” modeled on consumer Web sites, says Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.

Kundra, in an interview with InformationWeek, said such a system would make it easier for agencies to get access to the latest in technology.

These days, technology goes through major changes every 18 months. "Unfortunately, if you look at the processes, if it takes 18 months to two years to go through a procurement cycle, you've already missed one revolution," he said.

Kundra said such an overhaul would require the support of many stakeholders, including policy-makers, CIOs, the acquisition community and GSA.

The federal CIO also has been talking up Data.gov, the Obama administration’s initiative for making government data more accessible to the public.

In an interview with Wired.com, Kundra discussed the importance of “democratizing” government data, giving the public access to as many streams of information as possible.

“The premise behind behind Data.gov goes to the philosophy around transparency and open government that the president has been talking about," Kundra said. "What we want to do is democratize data and democratize information and put it in the public square. The default setting of the United States should not be that everything should be secret and closed.”

About the Author

John Monroe is Senior Events Editor for the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, where he is responsible for overseeing the development of content for print and online content, as well as events. John has more than 20 years of experience covering the information technology field. Most recently he served as Editor-in-Chief of Federal Computer Week. Previously, he served as editor of three sister publications: civic.com, which covered the state and local government IT market, Government Health IT, and Defense Systems.

Reader Comments

Mon, Jul 6, 2009 Harold Ray Southern California

IT storefronts have always existed, evidenced by sole source awards, credit card purchases, gold plated hammers, etc. Goldwater-Nichols, "Capture The Money", ITSS, and "schedule contracts" are all tools to ensure objective, competitive purchases are made for legitimate requirements from qualified sources by knowledgeable buyers.

Mon, Jul 6, 2009

This is not a unique idea. Over 20 years ago GSA did operate, through an outside vendor, a store front at their headquarters at 18th and F Street. It brought the latest technology to the Government end-user and avoided all of the long term procurement issues that have weighed us down over the years. GSA had great foresight then and that concept still holds true today. What do they say - What goes around comes around...

Mon, Jul 6, 2009 Richard Phillips Summerfield, FL.

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra:

The FBO.gov site needs to be more user friendly and updated to today’s world.

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