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OPM launches a new one-stop shop for agency HR needs

Federal agencies can now directly compare shared service providers, as well as more easily find assistance on human capital challenges, thanks to a new online marketplace.

The Office of Personnel Management last week announced that it had launched a new marketplace that officials say will serve as a one-stop shop for federal agencies to access human resources services, both in government and through federal contractors.

In 2019, the Office of Management and Budget published guidance tasked mission support agencies like OPM and the General Services Administration to develop quality services management offices (QSMOs), to make it easier for federal agencies to understand governmentwide standards and find and choose vendors related to issues like human resources and financial management.

Prior to the marketplace’s launch, agencies researching shared service providers, their capabilities, as well as private-sector HR products had to cull information from a variety of disparate sources, said Steve Krauss, a senior advisor for OPM’s HR Quality Services Management Office and the agency’s HR Line of Business.

“Prior to the launch of the marketplace, agencies have really been on their own in trying to discern what’s available out there in the marketplace,” he said. “Whether it be from federal shared service providers or commercial companies, they’ve always been sort of on their own in terms of figuring out what meets their qualifications and requirements, and they’ve never really had a lot of support in terms of trying to determine which solutions are vetted or have been formally qualified and things of that nature.”

The new marketplace, hosted by GSA at, provides information regarding each of the government’s internally run major shared service providers—the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Interior Business Center, the Agriculture Department’s National Finance Center, GSA’s Payroll Services Branch, OPM’s HR Solutions and Treasury Shared Services—as part of its “solutions catalog.” It also includes information on the standards expected of federal HR systems, as well as a playbook, which provides real-world examples of how some federal agencies successfully tackled their human capital management challenges.

That last feature is another instance of how OPM is taking the National Academy of Public Administration’s recommendations that OPM evolve from a transactional and compliance-based agency to one that is a “strategic leader” on human capital issues, Krauss said.

 “[One] of the best examples is there is a whole section that is devoted to HR Line of Business standards,” he said. “This is a section that gives agencies more information than they’ve ever had before, but it’s also public so it gives that same information to industry partners who are trying to help agencies get to where they’re trying to go. It explains the standards, how agencies are supposed to run those functions and develop data standards, and it also includes a playbook . . . full of use case scenarios and examples of how other agencies have used these standards to create value.”

And by making its new clearinghouse publicly accessible, rather than behind a government intranet, Krauss said OPM hopes the new marketplace will inspire shared service providers both in government and in the private sector to design offerings to address agency challenges in the future.

“All of this feeds back into the marketplace, right?” Krauss said. “What we find is the agencies looking to modernize their systems are essentially looking at the same finite set of platforms, since only so many services can scale up enough to meet the government’s needs . . . It all comes together in terms of helping agencies do more together, and to share more so that they can deploy things faster and more efficiently, and get better results.”