The Commerce Department is succeeding in an area where most other agencies have failed: the shared services arena. Glen Davidson, the former executive director of enterprise services at Commerce, who led the shared service’s effort said, “the initiative is saving millions of dollars, providing better services and setting Commerce up of for future successes.”(Miller, J., Federal News Network December 10, 2018)
According to Davidson, Commerce may have paid less in the past, but the quality of services was substandard. He felt that poor quality and lack of timeliness likely impeded the mission. Davidson believes the impact of shared services is clear particularly around IT services.
Rod Turk, the acting Commerce chief information officer, gave a great example of how shared services work. He recently shared how something as simple as taking printers off of employees desks and moving to a centralized and secure approach reduced costs for printing and maintenance of the printers. According to Turk, the next big effort will be around IT shared services for identity credentialing and access management (ICAM).
Davidson explained why Commerce has been so successful with shared services
•A long view of the effort was taken. It was a crawl-walk-run scenario.
•Data was painstakingly collected The data set a true baseline of current costs, as in the example above, for printers.
•It was understood that it would take money to save money.
Davidson looked well beyond the cost for labor. He said, “Most people look at labor costs. But I go beyond that and look at the costs of the building, electricity, the operations, and maintenance of the technology platform and other things so I could determine total costs. There is a lot of information that currently exists in the systems that we have, but you have to go and find it. No one even knew exactly how many people were employed at Commerce. My standup costs came from Commerce’s working capital fund that is largely made up of contributions from all the bureaus in order to fund my stand up costs. I was under a great deal of scrutiny because any dollar I received meant another organization was receiving less.” (Miller, J., Federal News Network December 10, 2018)
Commerce has built a one-stop portal so that actions, including acquisition, can be accomplished via an online request. Davidson said Commerce will deliver acquisition services for its eight smallest bureaus of the Office of Secretary, mainly around commodity products and services.
Davidson said, “we can continue to deliver IT services in a more consolidated way. We will look at grants management services too. The list of possibilities is endless.” (Miller, J., Federal News Network December 10, 2018)
The current administration will use Commerce’s success as a model for other agencies.
Questions about shared services? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.