GSA will expand online links

Senior systems officials at the General Services Administration envision an online
environment that will let GSA employees work from remote sites and make it possible for
agency customers to order services electronically. They have dubbed the plan CyberGSA.

“Our vision of CyberGSA is that all of our customers could move electronically
through our products and services the same way customers move electronically through,” the online bookseller, GSA chief information officer Shereen G. Remez

The plan would repackage some of GSA’s most successful online ventures into an
integrated whole. “It helps you get more excited and focused on it,” GSA
Administrator David J. Barram said. “The world is full of clutter. We have to get
people’s attention. Otherwise all language starts to sound the same.”

Barram said that GSA must be a leader in this type of project and that he wants
“all of our people at GSA to think of the future of information technology as it
applies to their work life.”

CyberGSA has three components: CyberWork, CyberLearn and CyberShop.

Through CyberWork, GSA plans to let its employees work away from the office and
interact with the office online, Remez said.

And GSA isn’t thinking small here, either. Within five years, its wants its online
environment to accommodate between 700,000 and 1 million mobile workers. “We’re
pushing this concept strongly through GSA because we need to be closer to our
customers,” Remez said.

GSA’s Anywhere Office is an important element of CyberWork, Remez said. The agency
plans to create a customized mobile office package that includes a portable computer,
network access, coordination software and communications equipment.

The agency introduced the Anywhere Office concept this summer at an agency Products and
Services Expo in Seattle. It has posted details about the program on the Web at

Through CyberLearn, GSA wants to offer alternatives to more conventional training
programs. “We’re finding that the traditional classroom is not the only way
people learn,” Remez said.

To fit training into people’s busy schedules, GSA is creating a virtual university
that will let its employees take courses at work or on their own time. Employees will earn
college credit, and GSA will note training accomplishments in employees’ personnel

The third part of the CyberGSA effort is CyberShop. The project builds on GSA
Advantage, the online mall GSA created for the Multiple-Award Schedule program. The agency
wants to make its many fee-for-service programs tappable through CyberShop.

There are no longer requirements that agencies must use many of GSA’s services,
and other agencies and vendors offer programs similar to those available through
GSA’s Federal Technology Service, Remez noted. The agency, therefore, must do more to
compete and to adopt commercial practices, she said.

GSA modeled CyberGSA on similar programs run by industry, Remez said.

“As a representative of one of the three business units, I think it’s a great
idea,” Federal Technology Service commissioner Dennis J. Fischer said.

“Our business over here is hooking people who have needs up with people who have
solutions,” he said of FTS’ fee-for-service programs. CyberGSA will make that
easier by giving customers online access to information about what GSA does, he

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