How GSA Benefits the Public
The U.S. General Services Administration was established on July 1, 1949, as a result of the Hoover Commission. The agency consolidated administrative functions across government into one organization in order to avoid senseless duplication, excess cost, and confusion in handling supplies, and providing space.
Today, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) conducts over $50 billion in business within the federal, state and local marketplace. GSA’s Public Buildings Service (PBS) manages buildings for the federal government, a significant portfolio that included over 8,300 owned or leased buildings, more than 370 million rentable square feet of workspace, and approximately 480 historic buildings either listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP).
The mission of GSA is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services. Our work in support of that mission is guided by a vision that focuses on three important principles -- Economic Catalyst, Proactive Federal Partner, and Operational Excellence.
Every day, the Federal Government’s investments have an impact on the communities where we live and work. GSA is committed to working more closely with federal agencies and city officials to strategically build, lease, and consolidate in places that make the most economic sense for the surrounding community by taking into consideration transit, housing, telecommunications infrastructure and other factors. We are also working to better support small business owners by lowering the barriers to getting on schedule and ensuring they know about the opportunities that exist across government.
In FY 2014 alone, over $30 billion passed through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program. To support strong business participation in supporting the Federal Government, we are working to provide opportunities for suppliers across the board, including small businesses, new entrepreneurs, and those not familiar with working with the government.
That is why GSA is exploring how we can adjust the entry requirements, and other burdens to get on the Schedule for Information Technology (IT) goods and services. The agency has piloted a Schedule 70 FAST lane program for expedited proposal review and now automatically accepts schedule price reductions from vendors.
We are also taking other steps, including evaluating the potential Transactional Data Reporting rule and related Price Reductions Clause; and exploring how we can add direct costs to Schedules.
At GSA, we understand that our real estate portfolio has a significant impact on the neighborhoods that surrounds it. In order to make a real difference in the communities where we live and work, we are working to enhance the community benefit of our real estate decisions. We are renewing our efforts to support local and regional planning and economic development goals wherever possible through our real estate portfolio decisions.
A GSA Order has been issued that outlines the criteria by which potential locations will be evaluated. GSA has identified a number of potential leases that are candidates for relocation to help drive economic growth. In addition, there are capital projects that have been identified as priorities due to their potential impact on economic growth. GSA will continue to look at upcoming projects through this lens to ensure that our real estate decisions benefit the communities around us.
Proactive Federal Partner
GSA has significant knowledge about the agencies we support and it is our responsibility to use this knowledge to help them better serve the American people. By finding and taking advantage of opportunities to be a proactive federal partner, GSA helps agencies improve service delivery and increase cost savings.
By putting customers at the core of our business, GSA ensures strong service for agency customers. In order to help business lines work together toward common, customer-centric outcomes, we have created an Office of Customer Experience that works on customer issues throughout the agency. GSA is also piloting the Feedback USA initiative, an interactive real-time tool to gather feedback from users of government services. This is the kind of work that’s going to create an ongoing dialogue that will generate better performance and savings by designing products aligned with customer expectations.
Furthermore, GSA is driving acquisition excellence through Category Management and the Acquisition Gateway. Category Management is a common-sense approach to manage how the government spends money. It means analyzing how the Federal Government spends $500 billion dollars each year and putting some structure into such spending, organizing the spending into product or service categories, such as IT Hardware, Office Supplies or Professional Services, and then managing each of those categories as a strategic business unit so we can better meet federal client agency needs.
This is a major step forward for government acquisitions and the Acquisition Gateway is the tool with which we will implement it. The Gateway is a government-wide technology platform that will give acquisition professionals easy access to actionable data and acquisition tools to help federal buyers make smart choices and save time, money and administrative resources.
By better organizing the acquisitions of the Federal Government and providing better access to experts and information, GSA is assisting federal agencies to make informed acquisition decisions that will benefit the American taxpayer.
One of our most important services is providing space for our agency partners, which is why we are working on reducing and modernizing the government’s real estate. Much of our agency’s building portfolio was built many years ago for a different way of work. We need to adapt our spaces to the way work is being done today. That means modernizing many of our buildings, but it also means using our space more efficiently.
Open, mobile, modern workspace encourages more collaborative work, as well as helps agencies compete for top-level talent. At the same time, it creates invaluable cost-savings that can be reallocated into agencies’ core mission activities.
GSA is serving as a role model of what can be accomplished in our own buildings and showing what can be done when space is used more efficiently. Today, the Total Workplace initiative allows GSA to help agencies move into new, more efficient space and assist with upfront costs. Moving forward, GSA will continue to analyze and examine our real property portfolio in order to ensure that it is being used as effectively and efficiently as possible in service of the American people.
Finally, we are committed to improving the federal government’s technology. GSA has always been a government leader in helping agencies use technology, from piloting new technologies internally to helping agencies procure IT solutions to building government-wide platforms that agencies can access. GSA is helping federal agencies achieve better outcomes by showing them what’s possible and providing access to acquisition solutions that can harness a 21st century approach to building new IT solutions. GSA has the experience and insights to help the government make the best decisions.
An excellent example of this approach is 18F, which now comprises a team of more than 150 developers, designers and others delivering more than 20 projects to improve the utilization of technology in the Federal Government. FAS has been busy working with GSA programs to improve contracting processes and vehicles that will result in better acquisitions and acquisition policy.
We will continue to build on this by expanding our offerings to agencies and increasing the government’s ability to work with innovative companies.
In recent years, this agency has done a great deal to improve ourselves as an organization. By collecting and relying more on data, enhancing reporting structures, and cultivating leaders, we have empowered people throughout GSA to make better decisions. This agency must continue to strive for the highest levels of operational excellence.
This agency’s most important asset is a strong, diverse, and optimized workforce. GSA cannot serve the American people as an agency if we are not using everyone’s diverse talents to the very best of their ability.
GSA is committed to supporting our workforce with the training and development that it needs. Enterprise-wide programs such as the Competitive Development Program and GSA Rotational Program have been created affording our employees the opportunity to cross-train within the Agency, increase collaboration, and provide future and current leaders the skills and development opportunities they require to meet GSA’s evolving needs.
GSA is committed to hiring the highest quality talent to ensure long term success in meeting our mission. To this end, GSA services and mission support offices are creating robust staffing plans for FY 2016 based on workforce data and analysis to better drive hiring goals and decisions. Targeted recruitment strategies will be implemented to bring in the right people, with the right skills, in the right positions. This is also being demonstrated in entry level hiring. Initiatives such as the GSA Entry-level Program have created a consistent recruitment and training experience to build a strong foundation for the future.
We are also committed to strengthening performance management to drive outcomes. Performance management is the glue to our operations, helping employees own their development while aligning to their supervisors’ expectations and GSA as a whole. Measuring, monitoring and communicating how GSA operates against planned targets and goals leads to better results for our customers and the public. That is why GSA has adopted a strategic, data-driven approach to track progress and envision what is possible for GSA moving forward.
All of this leads to strengthened employee performance plans by increasing the transparency of GSA Leadership plans and determining how these goals impact all our work. To this end, GSA has created the Office of Strategy and Performance Management to coordinate and improve the way GSA collects and leverages performance data for our employees. By applying it to our performance plans we are creating a culture throughout the organization focused on goals and measurable outcomes, all while becoming more transparent and data driven.
Finally, GSA continues the quest to ensure that data-driven decisions are at the core of our work. By making decisions based on facts and information, we are providing the American people with the highest level of service.
GSA uses the latest technology to safeguard data, works to optimize data storage and lower costs, and deploys flexible data presentation tools. This approach is empowering GSA staff at every level access to valuable information that will help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. At the same time, it will generate valuable benefits for GSA customers by making important data more easily accessible.
GSA has signaled a clear commitment to data-driven decision-making by joining the ranks of agencies with a clearly defined Chief Data Officer role and purpose-built teams focused on data migrations and reporting capabilities development. The agency has established avenues for cross-functional collaboration in the data management space, ensuring robustness of perspectives on security, architectural choices, and business needs across offices and levels of the organization. GSA engaged with the U.S. Chief Data Scientist and the Office of Science and Technology Policy to leverage the latest trends and promote government-wide collaboration.
Today, the mission of GSA is more important than ever before. This vision is driving our agency forward and giving us the ability to deliver savings in real estate, acquisitions, and technology services that allow agencies to focus on serving the American people to the very best of their ability.