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FCW : May 30, 2015
improvements, such as software up- grades, needed to meet their custom- ers’ requirements. Under federal rules, they can’t spend money until they have a signed contract in hand. In its survey of federal CFOs, the partnership also identiﬁed other reasons why agencies are cautious about wholesale use shared services. They hesitate to transition vital agency functions without a clearer idea of the cost beneﬁts, for example, as well as the need for more information about the performance of FSSPs. For that matter, many of the CFOs said they needed a clear idea about their agency's own performance and costs in order to build a business case for the move. Strategic workforce planning should also be integrated into decision- making on shared services. In an October 2014 study by the As- sociation of Government Accountants (AGA), two-thirds of the government executives surveyed said they have concerns about the quality of shared services offered, while one-third eyed loss of control and cost management. Nevertheless, the AGA said, “Slightly more (were) conﬁdent than not that the move to shared service providers would make agency and govern- ment-wide operations more eﬃcient.” Some agencies are already building expertise on shared services. HHS has a goal to “maximize the economic, architectural and operational value” of its shared services across the department and elsewhere, through the more than 50 services and products it offers. Likewise, the Treasury offers a range of services to both internal and external customers through its Shared Services Program, similar to those offered by its companion FSSPs. Other agencies have for some time offered shared services closely tied to their core expertise. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), for example, provides weather data and models to other agencies and to the private sector. The Veterans Administration shares medical information services to the Defense Department, and is looking at how to expand shared services internally to help with its own business processes. As one of the short-term goals for shared services, OMB said it will explore opportunities to actively expand the Shared First mandate beyond ﬁnancial services to other administrative functions, and also more closely engage the larger government departments to see if they can share their internal shared services. In an interview with Federal News Radio, OMB Controller Dave Mader said he expected between six and 10 agencies to move to shared service providers over the next three years. The question now is if the four FSSPs will be able to meet that demand, or if a commercial provider also needs to be added to the list. “That analysis we are undertaking this ﬁscal year,” he said. overnment organi- zations that want to implement IT shared services need to con- sider a range of issues, both technological and cultural, including a way for potential users to size up competing service offerings from providers. The OMB’s Federal Information Technology Shared Services Strategy, published in May 2012, is the basis for the government’s current push to expand the use of shared services in agencies, as a way to both cut the costs of IT acquisition and improve the effectiveness of IT. As a part of that, the OMB lists a number of things as critical for the success of any agency implementation of shared services, including “robust connectivity and agile cloud computing" as the primary technical elements. Along with that go such things as business process re-engineering, cultural change to overcome “loss of control” issues, and a buy-in by agency executives. The federal CIO Council expanded on that a year later, with the Federal Shared Services Implementation Guide. It made executive commitment the ﬁrst requirement since, without that, “identifying agency areas that make the most sense for migration to shared services, and facilitating those migrations, along with the organizational changes that accompany them, will be prohibitively diﬃcult.” That’s backed by the results of several recent surveys of agency chief ﬁnancial oﬃcers and IT managers that put much of the blame for a slow adoption of IT shared services in government on executives’ reluctance to buy in to the shared services business case. Beyond that, agency enterprise architectures will provide the structure needed to identify the Shared First approach that needs to be taken, along with a three-to-ﬁve-years Shared Services A Quick Guide to Implementing SHARED SERVICES
May 15, 2015
June 15, 2015