DC on T2

Capitol Corner — April 2019

Published monthly as part of FLC’s DC Perspective content, Capitol Corner focuses on one notable news item pertaining to the T2 community. The focus stems from agency publications, news sites, and DC-central organizations, with original sources, contacts, and links provided. For more information and Corner-related inquiries, please contact dcnews@federallabs.org.

This month, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memo to further define the Trump management agenda’s push for a “21st-century government.” The agenda includes CAP Goal 5, “Sharing Quality Services,” which seeks to “establish a strategic government-wide framework for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative services by 2020.” To do this, federal agencies will share technologies, with certain core services being housed in a single location to eliminate costs and wasted resources. If successful, performance will be monitored by OMB and the General Services Administration (GSA) using private-sector solutions to assess the efficacy of targeted solutions.

Shared services combine duplicate government functions, departments, and their associated programs and technology stacks into common resources. The OMB’s mandate would consolidate processes and services, such as agency payroll, while also modernizing technology to improve overall effectiveness and efficiency. If put in wider practice, this shared services model would potentially reduce government costs by 5 to 30 percent, as these duplicative functions cost taxpayers more than $25 billion a year. (The first project to align with this plan might be GSA’s NewPay, a HR and payroll solution that was given $20.7 million through the Technology Modernization Fund [TMF] in February.)

With the purpose defined and the target goal identified, let’s take a look at what the OMB memo outlines for shared services going forward, especially as the 2020 goalpost inches closer.

Reconfiguring the Approach to Shared Services

In conjunction with CAP Goal 5’s performance monitoring goal, all 24 agencies governed under the CFO Act will need to reach mutual agreement on what mission services can be shared based on targeted delivery benchmarks. The memo also instructs all CFO Act agencies to appoint a Senior Accountable Point of Contact (SAPOC) to support shared service strategies by next month. Data-driven assessments will be performed by these agencies, GSA, and OMB to gauge the maturity of each agency’s processes to determine what capabilities can be centralized without interruption to daily operations.

The OMB is also proposing Quality Service Management Offices (QSMOs) to offer contracting support, in-house services, and best practices for shared services once centralized technology is identified and a plan is in place to implement it. The Office will designate a lead agency to assume the QSMO role in order to manage a marketplace of common technology solutions by governing their long-term sustainability, alternative strategies and appropriate customer feedback avenues, and to enforce best practices. Each QSMO-leading agency will develop a five-year implementation plan complete with resource considerations and workforce needs.

Accountability and Governance

The OMB’s memo introduces both the Shared Services Governance Board (SSGB) and the Business Standards Council (BSC). The SSGB is chaired by GSA and another rotating member in order to recommend shared services and oversee the implementation of others. The BSC will employ standards from the Federal Integrated Business Framework (FIBF) to identify a common set of capabilities for mission support functions. According to the GSA, the FIBF “enables the Federal government to better coordinate and document common business needs across agencies and focus on outcomes, data, processes and performance.”

In addition, shared services implemented by each QSMO will be governed by the GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy to assess five-year implementation plans and best practices, as well as other various (at this time unnamed) authoritative bodies.

A Note on Workforce Modernization

The OMB, in conjunction with the CAP Goal outlining a “Workforce for the 21st Century,” instructs all affected agencies to shift resources to essential, non-duplicative work. Each agency should reinforce and revise human capital planning in the next 24-36 months as five-year implementation plans take shape.

As technology modernization initiatives and funding options continue to ramp up across the government, shared services should reallocate budgets toward non-duplicative, leading-edge solutions as more efforts are made to consolidate, reconfigure, and streamline others.

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