Federal IT Landscape Part II – Shared Services

(read Part 1 of this series)

Adopting shared services models has the potential to make government run much more efficiently, while driving significant cost savings or cost avoidance. The Office of Budget Management mandated the use of shared services in May of 2012, and the Office of the Federal CIO released a Shared Services Implementation Guide in April of 2013.

Some shared service plans have already been implemented. The General Service Administration (GSA) was able to consolidate spending on mobile and wireless into three purchases for the entire federal government. The GSA set up a portal through their website in order to help other agencies take advantage of the savings and avoid huge differences in billing. By doing so, the GSA is estimating savings of $300 Million over the next five years.

Implementation of shared services is still in its early phases. In an effort to spread awareness and centralize federal shared services, the Federal CIO Council launched Uncle Sam’s List this past April.

The online Shared Services Catalog provides information on IT infrastructure and service vendors, support and mission service providers, and existing contracts. The goal is to promote awareness of services available to Federal Agencies. The catalog will enable agencies to search, research, and contact IT and other service providers to make the best decisions about services acquisitions. This will help agencies spend smarter by avoiding duplicative purchases and improving cost efficiencies and return on investments (ROI).

However, when working with shared services, the risk of using Commercial-off-the-shelf software (COTS) as a cover-all method arises. The dangers of COTS have been highlighted before. They are blanket solutions that are unable to incorporate the specific needs of individual agencies, and they are too rigid to be easily adapted over time.

Appian is the way to achieve shared services while not perpetuating the problems of the COTS approach. Our industry-leading BPM software platform provides a full range of capabilities that can meet a wide spectrum of requirements and use cases. Over 40 US Federal agencies have already selected Appian as their BPM platform of choice. In addition, Appian is flexible and easily configurable to meet specific agency needs for various missions. As requirements evolve, business people and application designers can quickly change process flows, add functionality, and make other updates.

In addition, Appian provides pre-built applications, software components, and process templates for common government functions, such as Acquisition Business Management. These applications can be applied to a variety of agencies, and then easily modified to fit individual agency needs, allowing for broad implementation while still having a unique application. Learn more about how Appian’s BPM platform can help Federal agencies accelerate their missions.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications