White House Debuts Shared Services Catalog

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Officials want to reduce the number of IT systems in government to save costs.

The government’s team of top information technology officials published a catalog of shared services on Tuesday aimed at helping agencies save money on IT services.

Agencies will be able to use the catalog to shop for IT services provided by other agencies that are cheaper than they could provide on their own. The catalog isn’t visible to the public.

The Federal Chief Information Officers Council also released 48 pages of detailed guidance explaining how agencies should determine which IT services are ripe for consolidation and which other agencies are best to procure them from.

Both projects involve building a multi-disciplinary team of officials who use the service and performing a cost-benefit analysis of shifting to a shared version of the service. Agencies may identify shared services opportunities during regular asset reviews and capital planning sessions, the guidance said.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel has been urging more shared services since late 2011 when he released a draft version of a federal shared services strategy. Tuesday’s guidance divides potential shared services among commodity IT, such as email and software contracts; support services, such as human resources and grants management systems; and systems focused on certain agencies’ missions.

The greatest potential for shared services savings lies in more generic systems rather than systems focused on agency-specific missions, officials have said. The siloed nature of government agencies has often made it difficult to share services within or across agencies.