FTS shifts its focus from contracts to solving IT problems for agencies

FTS shifts its focus from contracts to solving IT problems for agencies

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

The General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service will continue to move away from running specific contracts and instead will focus on solving agencies' problems, FTS deputy commissioner Sandra N. Bates said this month.

'We're not selling contracts. We're selling solutions,' Bates said at a GCN Forum luncheon in Washington.

With multicontract programs such as the Seat Management Program for outsourcing PC operations and the Access Certificates for Electronic Services for digital certificate services, FTS is trying to help agencies answer real-world problems, she said.

Overall, the government is pretty good at acquisition as a result of procurement reform, Bates said. So now, government systems executives and information technology vendors need to focus on users, she said.

With that in mind, FTS is looking for new and innovative ways to do business. For example, GSA is considering how it could hold online auctions, she said.

They would let agencies get discounts directly from vendors. There are still some regulatory and legal hurdles, however, said Charles Self, FTS' assistant commissioner for IT integration.

FTS has also created the Financial Management Systems Center to help agencies with enterprise resource planning systems, Bates said.

Many popular ideas may seem far-fetched, she said. For instance, one commercial Web site, at finalthoughts.com, lets people send e-mail messages after they die. Bates said that FTS is not looking to get into that line of business but that the site does illustrate the importance of end users.

'No idea is a dumb idea,' she said.

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