By Performance.gov Team
PMA CAP goal
When GSA Administrator Emily Murphy spoke at the 2018 Shared Services Summit, she described the situation facing the federal government in 1949: “When President Truman founded GSA, he sought a single federal agency to help avoid ‘senseless duplication, excess cost, and confusion.’” In a world that is increasingly complex and fast-paced, agencies are focused on finding efficiencies to free up more time, energy, and resources to dedicate to achieving mission outcomes and serving the American people. Common administrative service areas like financial management, human resources, acquisition, information technology, grants management, and travel are performed across all federal agencies. Instead of spending billions of dollars individually to build their own technology and service capabilities, federal agencies are looking at how to share the burden and cost. By sharing mission support capabilities, agencies can reduce operational costs by 20% each year and shift time, effort, and funding to core missions in support of the Americans public.
The President’s Management Agenda and the Sharing Quality Services Cross-Agency Priority Goal Team will create a mission-driven government with modern technology and services that enable the workforce to better serve the American taxpayer. Changing how the government manages mission support activities reduces the resources needed and results in accelerated hiring to secure the border, faster payments to small businesses so the economy can continue to grow and thrive, and simplified grants applications so more resources are directed to results rather than compliance.
“The PMA is not about compliance – it is about setting a vision and working together to accomplish shared goals. We are better off as a government when we can share information, lessons learned, and best practices among agencies so they can solve common problems or embrace common opportunities,”-- OMB CIO Suzette Kent to more than 600 acquisition, financial, human resources, information technology, and performance management professionals at the Shared Services Summit on November 1.
Where Agencies Can Start
The first step toward achieving the benefits of shared mission support services is understanding shared needs. The Federal Integrated Business Framework (FIBF) helps the federal government coordinate and document common business needs across agencies, focusing on outcomes, data, and cross-functional, end-to-end business processes.
Understanding shared needs is at the core of shared mission support services. At the Summit, Ken Newton, NASA Service Delivery Director, explained how his agency was willing to provide customers with the services they want, but that there was a cost associated with that, and he had to ensure that all customers had to be willing to share that cost. NASA and other agencies recognize that shared mission support services begins with comprehending what they and their customers require for mission success.
An effort to modernize payroll is already underway. GSA launched the NewPay initiative earlier this year to allow the federal government to establish technology and services to modernize and improve payroll processing across government. Current federal payroll systems are outdated and make recurring activities, such as transferring federal employees between agencies, arduous and time-consuming. NewPay solutions allow federal agencies to streamline and simplify these processes to focus more time, energy, and resources on strategic priorities that benefit the public. Common data standards will also allow for better workforce analytics and planning.
Navigating the Transition
Shared service transitions are highly complex and vary across agencies. However, there are still opportunities for federal leaders and teams to learn from the experiences of other agencies who have made successful migrations. At the Summit, Ken Newton at NASA stated that the risks in shared services are actually in execution and operations, but not the shared services model itself.
A successful shared service transition requires the flexibility to be adept at multiple approaches. At the Shared Services Summit, Suzette Kent discussed how agencies can benefit from this new mindset:
The strategy offers to agencies multiple approaches to engage in the shared services transformation to drive value for their agencies in quality of services and shift funds to more impactful mission serving functions These multiple approaches – leveraging available smaller services offered under new model, transitioning to broader government wide services with defined standards (ex Payroll), and path for on-going development of new services—give agencies flexibility to align in a manner that maximizes service and savings outcomes for their own agency.”
Federal leaders can leverage existing tools to manage a shared service transition. The Modernization and Migration Management (M3) framework helps federal leaders achieve successful outcomes and reduce risk during mission support system and/or service modernizations and migrations.
Peggy Martin, a former federal executive who led the NewPay initiative, and migration of shared services between HUD and the Treasury Department, discussed leveraging the M3 playbook and encouraged developing vision, strategy, and a roadmap early in the process, allowing for early victories and incremental progress.
The Role of Technology
Efforts to advance government-wide shared services are closely linked to modernization of federal information technology, which is one of the key drivers of the President’s Management Agenda. The Sharing Quality Services Cross-Agency Priority goal team is exploring how the federal government can leverage commercial solutions and innovation practices.
At the Shared Services Summit, Gerard Badorrek, GSA Chief Financial Officer, and Marisa Schmader, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Department of the Treasury, explained how their agencies are exploring uses for modern technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.
“If we can’t share data, we can’t share services,” said Emily Murphy as she underscored the need for IT modernization in place in order for agencies to successfully complete their missions. And Suzette Kent made the connection between the shared services agenda and IT modernization, as the government selects a common set of solutions and move to a more modern and more secure platform.
To learn more about how the federal government is sharing the cost and burden of administrative services across agencies, visit the Sharing Quality Services Cross-Agency Priority Goal page.