New coalition helps agencies ‘pick up the pace’ on shared services

Shared services providers could potentially save the federal government $50 billion per year, according to John Marshall, founder and CEO of a newly-created coalition.

The Shared Services Leadership Coalition (SSLC), launched Tuesday, will help the government quickly consolidate several agency-specific platforms into a few governmentwide ones.

John Marshall
The transition could “produce the most significant modernization and restructuring of the federal bureaucracy since World War II,” Marshall said in a press release.

Take, for example, geospatial services, he said on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

“You may have half a dozen or so agencies [that] need a geospatial technology, but each of those agencies doesn’t need to develop its own,” he said. “They can co-invest and share a single optimized, fully modernized geospatial platform.”

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The federal government is no stranger to shared services. Each White House administration, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, has embraced and supported the transition to shared services.

Agencies consolidated dozens of payroll platforms, saving about $1.6 billion so far. The departments of Interior, Treasury, Transportation and Agriculture now provide payroll services to other agencies. But that process took nearly 30 years to complete.

Marshall attributed the long timespan to subtle changes between each administration.

“It hasn’t been a continuous and sustainable vision and roadmap with trackeable milestones,” Marshall said. “That’s where legislation is needed.”

He said SSLC has been talking with some members of Congress, but he’s not revealing who just yet, or whether the lawmakers seem to support the idea.

SSLC won’t actually provide the shared services, but rather the coalition will create a marketplace of providers from both the public and private sectors.

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“The future marketplace we envision is an open, competitive, dynamic public-private marketplace, where agency customers can choose freely where to go — to a public provider, or a private provider or a public-private provider,” Marshall said.

The coalition includes Microsoft, Accenture, Avaya, IBM, the Data Transparency Coalition, the National Academy of Public Administration and the Professional Services Council.

“There’s really something in this for everybody,” Marshall said. “It’s a win-win-win for industry, for government and for the good government community.”

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