When employees of the U.S. General Services Administration return to the agency’s headquarters this spring, they will have an entirely new working experience unlike any seen before in the federal government.
In an interview with FedScoop, GSA Chief Information Officer Casey Coleman outlined some of the innovations awaiting agency employees when they return to 1800 F Street.
“We’ve completed a whole workforce transformation that focuses on collaborative workspaces and mobility, so employees can go where their work takes them,” Coleman said.
When employees come to the building to work, they will book a seat where they need to work with different departments and offices grouped into neighborhoods, creating a home base for employees. By booking a seat, employees will not be tied to one workspace, but instead allowed to work near people doing the similar projects that day.
The building is fully equipped with wifi, and employees will be armed with VoIP on their laptops, so their computing device acts as their phone as well. GSA will continue to use telepresence, Coleman said, as a way to have high-quality virtual meetings as they’ve done at their temporary home on 1st Street.
The building, which originally housed 2,000 employees, will now host approximately 4,000. The layout, though, will ensure that “even if the 4,000th person shows up, he or she will have a seat,” Coleman said.
Another cool thing, Coleman explained, is IT Insider Live, a set-aside part of the building where employees can go for tech support (think of Apple’s Genius Bar). There, employees can demo new equipment, practice with different technologies or get hands-on training.
“For instance, if an employee is scheduled to telework the next day and never has before, they can go to IT Insider Live and get set up by an IT professional,” Coleman said.
While the workplace transition is a big project for Coleman, she has other priorities on her plate as well, namely the consolidation of GSA’s information technology offices.
As part of Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini’s top-to-bottom review of the agency, seven different IT offices within the agency are being consolidated into one under Coleman’s leadership. The plan, Coleman said, is to act in a more enterprise way that will be more streamlined and efficient.
Coleman has also been working with GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service and Acting Commissioner Mary Davie on the creation of SAM, the System for Award Management, that integrates the capabilities provided by the legacy systems, streamlining processes, eliminating redundant data and saving taxpayer money in one acquisition environment.
SAM is a free website that consolidates the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA and EPLS. Future phases of SAM will add the capabilities of other systems used in federal procurement and awards processes.
Finally, Coleman said her office is transitioning to a technology operations contract. The contract, which replaces a 2006 vehicle, is currently going through the procurement process and will likely be awarded in a few weeks. It will provide GSA with common infrastructure services, help desk support, network and wireless devices and cybersecurity technology in one contract.
The contract is strictly for small business and is being awarded under the Alliant Small Business Program.
“The contract shows GSA’s commitment to small business,” Coleman said.