GSA Employees Join Super Information Highway through Intranet
June 14, 1996
Contact: Bill Bearden
Taking a major step toward making the U.S. General Services Administration a model Federal workplace, acting GSA Administrator David J. Barram marked Flag Day by directing agency employees nationwide onto the information super highway with universal access to the Internet and launching InSite, GSA's new intranet for internal communications.
About 4,500 GSA employees have been using Internet since the fall of 1994 when GSA first launched its Internet home page. Starting today, all employees throughout GSA have access to the Internet and InSite.
At a meeting of GSA's Business Technology Council in April, Barram -- who, as a former executive for Apple Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard, is a proponent of expanding information technology in the workplace -- announced his vision of using advanced desktop technology to empower employees to see "the possibilities of a rapidly changing world." It was at that meeting that senior GSA managers agreed with him to make Internet available to all agency employees by Flag Day.
"Using this tool called Internet, companies, governments and individuals around the world are inventing exciting new ways to do their work, improve service to their customers, and communicate with each other," Barram said today. "I believe that use of the Internet will be a key competitiveness factor for GSA in the coming years and that GSA employees must begin to learn how this new resource can change the way we do business."
Internet is known as the global communications network and it is being called by many experts the most promising avenue for business in existence today. Through the use of Internet, companies and government agencies worldwide are finding exciting new ways to serve their customers and communicate with each other.
According to recent studies, few people knew what an intranet was six months ago. Now, if a company is not developing its own or using an intranet to improve corporate communications, it is missing out on a tool that could change the way corporations communicate.
Not every GSA employee will need an individual computer to access InSite. According to Joe M. Thompson, GSA's Chief Information Officer, some employees will have access in libraries, cafeterias and warehouses, and others on the desktop." This is an idea that will cut the cost of doing business, bring our products and services to market faster, and leverage the agency's investments," he said.
GSA was able to develop it's intranet in less than three months because the agency could capitalize on its networking investment which had taken place over the past several years.
"We were ideally situated to build an intranet because all of our regional headquarters, and over 300 additional field locations, are connected to our high-speed wide area backbone network," Thompson said. "Additionally, we had already standardized a common electronic mail platform -- cc:mail -- and had a sophisticated national Lotus Notes network. At the outset of the project a single Internet gateway was in place serving approximately 4,500 users of the Internet's World Wide Web, and providing Internet e-mail access to all of GSA."
Barram said that by beginning this process today, "GSA and all of our employees and customers are getting a jump on the advantages, information, and competitive edge that we all need to make our services the best anywhere."