GSA building its brand as government’s consulting agency

Maybe the General Services Administration should consider changing its name to the General Consulting Agency.

Faced with a host of new green buildings regulations, and driven by the steep governmentwide budget crunch, federal agencies are frequently turning to GSA for help on making their dollar go further, according to agency Administrator Martha Johnson.

During a press briefing on Tuesday at the annual Interagency Resources Management Conference, Johnson explained that GSA's expertise in the complicated acquisition process, building management, sustainable products and energy-efficient vehicles has created a growing demand from its government customers.

"We are embracing the role of facilitator and getting close to our clients in new ways," Johnson said during a morning conference call. "Agencies are coming to us and asking for help in scrubbing their procurements to see where they might have more opportunities. . . . We are doing more of that work, which puts us as more of a consulting, facilitating expert and setting up clients to be smarter shoppers."

For years, GSA has offered assisted acquisition services to its customers, helping agencies with complicated procurements. They now have expanded those services to include more-general procurement analysis, helping agencies determine whether they are spending their contracting dollars efficiently, Johnson said.

"Our customers are in budget squeezes and they need cheaper ways to buy," she said.

The agency also is taking a lead role on a number of governmentwide initiatives, including implementing White House requirements for sustainable procurements, green building design, telework and testing a fleet of hybrid vehicles, Johnson said.

Similarly, GSA is playing the role of governmentwide facilitator, bringing together other agencies for cooperative discussions on topics such as reforming the Federal Acquisition Regulation, or better utilizing strategic sourcing.

"GSA is helping agencies come together in a buying cooperative mechanism," Johnson said. "It keeps GSA from being the mandated source. You get the benefits of the buying power of the government without being in a monopolistic way."

The agency is taking some of its frugal advice to heart, cutting its travel spending and other discretionary items to prepare for the budgetary unknowns. "We are in limbo like everybody else," Johnson said, "trying on a daily basis to be sensible. We have a half a year to get through and we have to be . . . economic about that."

The administrator also noted GSA is spending significant resources to upgrade its Multiple Acquisition Schedules, which she said are in need of a "facelift" to become more customer-friendly.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.