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Continuing the Shared Services Momentum

Today, OMB issued guidance to agencies institutionalizing many of the ongoing initiatives and progress on improving administrative functions through shared services.

Recognizing the powerful impact that the government’s internal operations have on service to its citizens, this Administration has made transformation of management practices within the Federal Government a key priority. Sharing and streamlining mission support services such as financial management and human resources not only allows for more efficient use of taxpayer dollars, but also enables agencies to focus more time, energy and resources on their strategic priorities that benefit the public, such as building the nation’s infrastructure, ensuring our security, and strengthening our communities.

In October 2015, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) announced the first-ever government-wide operating model for shared services, including the establishment of the Shared Services Governance Board (SSGB) and creation of the Office of Unified Shared Services Management (USSM). This operating model is intended to enable the delivery of high-quality, high-value shared services that improve performance and efficiency throughout government, with the SSGB driving the strategic direction and the USSM executing on the shared vision.

Today, OMB issued guidance to agencies on Improving Administrative Functions Through Shared Services. The guidance institutionalizes many of the ongoing initiatives and progress, including:

  • Establishing a process to review agency investments in administrative functions, including financial management, human resources, acquisition, grants management, and the information technology expenses, valued at over $3 billion in 2017 alone, that support those functions. Reviewing these investments will ensure they align with the government-wide shared service approach and can be harnessed by multiple agencies wherever possible.
  • Reducing the risk of costly, failed agency IT migrations and modernizations by publishing a Playbook of best practices and lessons learned from across government and aligning investment reviews to the Federal budget process. 
  • Fostering greater collaboration with the leaders of the Category Management cross-agency priority goal to maximize the buying power of the Federal Government, thereby reducing duplication and maximizing the value of tax dollars.
  • Promoting increased transparency and accountability for service delivery by establishing the first-ever ProviderStat – a collection of cost, quality and performance metrics from Federal shared service providers.
  • Strengthening shared services supply by establishing requirements, assessment criteria, and a designation process. This will help drive common standards for process and performance to help realize the benefits of shared services. USSM will establish these criteria in a way that encourages innovation and evolution of shared services to include new practices and new technologies.

In addition to the efforts highlighted in the guidance, there has also been significant progress in creating the governance, strategy, and funding models to support broad adoption of shared services.  Those efforts include:

  • Reinforcing and strengthening the role of the policy owners and Line of Business Managing Partners in establishing government-wide outcomes and common processes to drive efficiencies and cost avoidance.
  • Deeply engaging key stakeholders and standing up new governance bodies, including the Customer Council (comprised of leaders from CFO Act Agencies and the Small Agency Council), the Provider Council (consisting of all the Federal Shared Service Providers), and several meetings and exchanges with industry leaders and associations.
  • Researching and advocating for smarter ways to manage and fund investments so they can be leveraged by multiple agencies.

Realizing the promise of shared services is a long-term effort and one that challenges government leaders to adopt a new lens for decision-making that at times may require prioritizing the federal enterprise over the individual agency.  This early progress through the SSGB and USSM represents new momentum for the shared service model that builds upon the foundation laid by this and previous Administrations.

With continued focus on the vision for more efficient, secure, and effective government operations through shared services, we can maximize the ability for agencies to deliver their missions and truly transform the impact of government on families and communities across the country.

David Mader is the Controller at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Denise Turner Roth is the Administrator of the General Services Administration.