Helping Agencies Avoid “Lost in Transition”: 3 Key Steps to Guide Transformation through Contracts
It’s always nerve-wracking to move from one large IT contract vehicle to another. New technologies, new services, new billing systems and concerns over what might been overlooked are just a few of the worries.
At the same time, contract transitions provide the perfect opportunity for government agencies to tackle true IT modernization by streamlining processes, cutting redundancies and creating new value for both users and citizens, all while saving money. What’s not to like in that scenario?
Two large contract vehicles that can really deliver IT modernization are the General Services Administration’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) and Alliant 2 GWAC contracts both deliver on these promises.
IT services on EIS tend to cost less than the same services on GSA’s legacy Networx contract, and EIS is structured to provide more flexibility for agencies to design end-to-end solutions rather than using predefined product sets. Updated services available on EIS, such as cloud migration, enhanced mobility, added cybersecurity, greater use of automation and digital networking solutions, all facilitate modernization.
With Alliant 2, the highly technical offerings can easily be customized to bring cutting-edge technology to federal agencies. It provides access to artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and distributed ledger technology, to name just a few available items and services. All of these services are designed to transform an agency’s IT systems and keep them up to date and ready for future applications.
But transitioning from one contract vehicle to another can be complex and confusing when considering new technologies and services. Working with an industry partner that is experienced in navigating the contracting landscape and well versed in making the best use of the great opportunities these vehicles provide is a good idea.
Three Steps to Guide the Transition to Modernization
There are three fundamental steps to IT modernization:
1. Know what you have.
Agencies should compile a complete inventory of current telecommunications assets and services. This inventory should include details on what is needed to maintain those resources – capturing those costs helps to demonstrate the savings realized by investing in new solutions. By putting together a list of what is currently being used, and what is needed to maintain those assets, agencies are in a good position to begin upgrading using new contract vehicles such as EIS and Alliant 2.
2. Know where you’re going.
Agencies can use their existing inventories to identify future telecommunications and technology needs, particularly with regard to modernization efforts. They can identify processes begging to be streamlined, as well as those that are starting to show their age and may no longer be compatible with the most modern technology and tools. This can help the agencies think in terms of solutions and outcomes, rather than products. It also means reading white papers, interacting with the contract office and consulting GSA’s resources, such as its EIS transition resources web pages.
3. Plan for the transition.
Agency leadership should clearly establish roles for managing the contract transition, including defining responsibilities for managing assets and human capital. All the stakeholders – technology owners, agency process owners and acquisition officials – should have the opportunity to identify pain points and define their priorities.
This is not just a “step.” It’s really the key to success. As quickly as technologies are evolving, agencies have to learn that modernization – innovating, adapting processes and identifying user and citizen needs and wants, and so on – is a journey, not a destination.
One reason many federal agencies are facing a significant IT deficit and still relying on long-obsolete technology is because historically, each acquisition was treated as a one-time purchase (even if a very expensive one). People now understand that modernization never really ends; it’s not an end goal in its own right. It’s more about the process of committing to continued modernization over time.
As Our World Changes, Agencies Look to Keep up
Nothing has reinforced the need for IT modernization as much as the COVID-19 pandemic. Overnight, agencies that had shied away from implementing telework for their employees suddenly had to find ways for thousands of people to work from home.
I recently participated in an online panel discussion hosted by FedInsider on how to use these contract vehicles to accelerate IT modernization. Allen Hill of the General Services Administration talked about how during the initial response to the pandemic, GSA fielded a number of requests with a short turnaround requirement for things like increased network capacity, online conferencing capabilities and more VPN licenses. He said this is one example of why GSA is broadening its “as a service” offerings, so agencies don’t have to go through any manual processes to add capacity.
That’s why modernization is about being able to be flexible and flex your network by adapting to new conditions quickly, and then be able to surge, or deepen, capacity and capability as needed.
CenturyLink has an extensive track record of working closely with agencies and knows what it takes to transition to new federal contract vehicles. For example, CenturyLink was the first EIS supplier to receive Authority to Operate, in March 2019, and a month later we won the very first EIS task order award.
Enlisting the help of a trusted partner like CenturyLink can help agencies develop a realistic transition-to-transformation plan and manage IT modernization projects effectively.
Download our white paper now to learn more about what agencies need to get up to speed on EIS, Alliant 2 and other contract vehicles that enable true IT modernization.
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