by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
FCW : April 30, 2014
Commentary | BOB WOODS BOB WOODS is president of Topside Consulting Group and former commissioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service. When you are about to buy some- thing in your personal life --- gro- ceries, appliances, books, airline tickets, etc. --- you can compare prices across multiple vendors before you ultimately hit the "buy" button. The vendors can see one another s prices as well and adjust them accordingly. As a result, we consumers bene t. This has always been the case; the Internet simply makes our reach broader and our methods more exacting. Now what if there was a govern- ment buying program that provid- ed complete price transparency for contracts? Would the same thing happen? Would the government get better prices? Would the vendors try to one-up one another? The answer, of course, is yes --- and it is already happening. For the bene t of taxpayers and customer agencies, the General Services Administration has been running that type of marketplace since 1999, rst for FTS 2001 and now for the Networx telecommunica- tions program. In today s world, where every blemish or perceived shortcom- ing is showcased while positive performance and outcomes go unmentioned, I believe that GSA s recognition of the advantages of price transparency is worthy of note, and the techniques and tools that were built into the Networx program deserve to be broadly known. GSA provides price transpar- ency for every telecommunica- tions service available on the contract via Web-based tools called the Networx pricers. Once users have speci ed a service, the tool provides prices for all the vendors simultaneously. Now customers can compare Vendor A to Vendor B --- and to vendors C, D and E. And, just as with Amazon, agencies are shown other telecommunications services that they might want to buy, some of which are automati- cally packaged and sold with the original item. Because GSA made that infor- mation public, the biggest users of the tools are the vendors them- selves. Firms are constantly look- ing to see what competitors are doing and adjusting accordingly. If a vendor sees that its prices are too high, it submits a price reduc- tion to GSA. After the reduction is accepted, GSA updates the site to re ect the new price, and agencies bills are reduced accordingly. Let s look at two examples in which agencies saved millions because of this marketplace. (For detailed pricing charts, please see http://is.gd/fcw0430.) The rst example is for Internet service at 155 megabits/sec. In 2007, some vendors prices were more than twice those of other providers, but they have steadily reduced their prices for the government to match their competitors. As a result, agencies have saved nearly $12 million --- or 32 percent --- since 2007 on just that one contract line item. The second example is for Man- aged Trusted IP Services, a pro- gram designed by GSA and offered by the Networx vendors to meet the Of ce of Management and Budget s Trusted Internet Connec- tions mandate. For services with a 45 megabits/sec connection, the government has bene ted from a 64 percent average price reduction since 2009, resulting in a savings of $7.6 million. Those kinds of savings smack of buying TVs at Walmart. It s a win-win-win situation: Agencies are savings millions, vendors have a transparent way to compete for business, and GSA fosters standards for achieving measurable value. Given the sensibility and busi- ness value of this approach, one wonders why it is not used more often. We might not be able to compare prices and drive down the cost of an F-35, but applying basic business decision-making to gov- ernment buying is a powerful idea that will be hard to ignore. And it can be applied to far more than just telecom services. ■ Common-sense techniques to save taxpayer dollars Basic business concepts such as price transparency can drive big savings. We need to apply them more broadly. The techniques and tools that were built into the Networx program deserve to be broadly known. 14 April 30, 2014 FCW.COM
April 15, 2014
May 15, 2014