FedScoop Event – Lowering the Cost of Government with IT

18 Sep FedScoop Event – Lowering the Cost of Government with IT

I was lucky enough to score a spot at FedScoop’s event yesterday morning at the Newseum but only lucky enough to be there for the very beginning.

The morning keynote address was given by Casey Coleman the CIO of the General Services Administration. She outlined GSA’s IT transformation describing how the agency has saved money and time through the use of new technology and an adaptive information sharing process.

As a whole, GSA needed to upgrade its technology. She said they were still using Word 2003! The main focus was on modernizing and centralizing technology. They started by analyzing their existing resources then decided what to upgrade, change and get rid of, resulting in the implementation and use of only fully active technologies that made sense for GSA’s goals. This process from analysis to implementation happened in a very short timeframe – only ten weeks!

Additionally, GSA moved to a cloud email solution through Google Apps. The IT transformation team did a good amount of backwork training and prepping the staff before deployment to mitigate problems before they could arise. And they designated certain tech-savvy employees as “power users” to help others get up to speed and create a sense of community during deployment.

Overall, they have seen that IT service desk calls are down. The time they spent training employees has paid off and now the service desk receives calls asking how to do new tasks rather than reporting a problem. One of the main ways that they mitigate problems is via Chatter, a SalesForce tool that allows users to communicate virtually and creates a log of conversations and answers so that service desk and power users aren’t being asked repetitive questions. Chatter has allowed them to create their own knowledge management system based on the technologies they actually use.

Casey said that GSA is really proud of the change management system they developed during this process and that they even rolled out a core competency based on it.

Ultimately Casey said that GSA’s technology refresh was not so much about which technology to use but about how to use technology to best get work done. Through the project they eased help desk concerns, streamlined communication and now use analytics to monitor top issues and provide proactive communication.

If you’re interested in hearing more, you can see Casey’s full presentation here.

Additionally, I got to stay to hear Gigi Schumm from (our client) Symantec talk on BYOD and how it can lower costs within agencies, if safely implemented. She’s recapping her portion on the Symantec Public Sector Blog and her entire presentation is available here.

Ali Robinson
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