Trump administration looking to continue IT savings through category management

GSA's Bill Zielinski delivers a keynote at the 2017 Verizon Government of the Future Summit. (FedScoop)

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Early conversations suggest President Donald Trump will look to sustain the progress the previous administration made using category management to drive IT savings, a senior acquisition official said Wednesday.

Trump’s White House is looking at IT risk management beyond the obvious cybersecurity concerns, and category management plays role on the acquisition side of that, Bill Zielinski, deputy assistant commissioner of category management at the General Services Administration, said at Verizon’s Government of the Future Summit, produced by FedScoop.

“What we’ve heard consistently in our conversations with the new administration folks is they are very much interested in figuring out how we could manage risk in the federal IT enterprise. I know when we talk about risk in the federal IT enterprise, a lot of people automatically go to cybersecurity— that certainly is a piece of it, and a large piece of it,” Zielinski said, pointing to the forthcoming executive order from the administration on cybersecurity, which he expects to see “very soon.”

But the administration is also cognizant of the IT risks outside of the operational cybersecurity landscape, like wasting money on duplicative systems and failed project development.

“They really are going beyond just that risk that’s associated with IT security, and they really are looking at the risks that are associated generally across IT,” he said. “How can we ensure that we identify those risks? How can we ensure that those risks, such as being able to implement successfully on those dollars that we spend in IT, that we’ve mitigated those risks and we’re able to execute on our programs.”

Category management — the acquisition philosophy introduced in recent years under President Barack Obama that promotes a more centralized buying and managing of commoditized goods and services in the federal space by grouping similar products, like IT or professional services, into categories — can be a tool for the administration to achieve that, Zielinski said.

“They’ve showed a lot of interest in things like how we really stretch the federal IT dollar further. You’ll continue to see that push toward things like shared services,” he said. “You’ll hear more about the idea of where can we really as a government work together toward having group buys or consolidating our requirements, and how can we all work together toward really maximizing those dollars. And that all fits in together very well with category management.”

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Bill Zielinski, category management, Cybersecurity, Donald trump, GSA, IT management