M.J. Pizzella, U.S. General Services Administration

March 2006
M.J. Pizzella, Associate Administrator for Citizen Services and Communications, U.S. General Services Administration

Which emerging technology will have the biggest impact on your organization in the future?

There was a time when federal agencies were required to buy their goods and services from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA’s business was pretty much guaranteed. Like the days of the 10-cent postage stamp, however, that time has passed. 

What has not changed is the GSA’s passion to remain the government’s premier acquisition agency. Attaining that goal has required several important changes. The GSA is, for instance, in the midst of a major reorganization that will streamline operations by replacing two of its major business lines—the Federal Supply Service and the Federal Technology Service—with the Federal Acquisition Service, a single point of contact. The payoff will be a GSA better positioned to fulfill its longstanding mission of helping other federal agencies serve the public by providing, at best value, superior workplaces, acquisition services and workspace solutions.

Toward this end, the GSA also is deploying an enterprisewide customer relationship management (ECRM) business strategy, called One Point. ECRM represents the GSA’s next natural step in moving from a product-oriented organization to a true strategic acquisition partner that will help federal customer agencies navigate today’s dynamic, competitive and complex marketplace.

ECRM provides a Web-enabled tool that will improve the collection and sharing of customer information throughout the GSA, providing its employees with a 360-degree view of all who do business with the agency. In essence, the system will supply an account-level view of customer information, permitting employees to share opportunities and to promote integrated solutions development and delivery. The critical part of the tool provides forecasting and analytics to help anticipate and meet customer requirements.

This technology from Siebel Systems Incorporated of San Mateo, California, will provide a single source for information that previously could be obtained only through access to multiple systems in different parts of the agency and through manual tabulation and analysis.

The development of the One Point system will be innovative as well because it will include participants and leadership from across the GSA working together to develop detailed system requirements, it will blueprint new processes and ways of collaborating, and it calls for designing new understandings on common terminology, account structures and opportunity management.

These advances will enable the GSA to provide federal customer agencies with the type of service they already expect from the private sector. While ECRM involves internal change, GSA customers will experience distinct benefits through greater responsiveness to their missions and business needs, more personalized customer service, greater flexibility and greater relevance of customized and integrated services and solutions.

In applying One Point, we understand that, where the GSA’s business lines had previously approached customers separately to sell their respective products and services, today’s customers demand bundled, integrated solutions delivered in a timelier, cost-effective manner. Already underway are several early examples of how the ECRM approach will work on complex, cross-service projects: the IRS Consolidated Campus project in Kansas City and the Census 2010 Project, which is using ECRM in its planning stage. A new workspace solution for the Census 2010 work force includes real estate, technology, furniture and moving services, involving four different GSA business lines but one solution point of contact and management.

Indeed, the ECRM solution is providing the technology and processes to help the GSA make this evolution to a higher level of customer service. To succeed, we must all take action, and those actions must be customer-centric. One Point will help in this regard as long as the system is used properly, which includes consciously sharing information about customers and cross-selling opportunities, disseminating best practices, and capturing and retaining knowledge about customers.

ECRM also should save taxpayer dollars by moving the GSA from a reactive, transaction-oriented enterprise to a more efficient and proactive organization. So stay tuned. The GSA in the near future will be better able to anticipate customer needs, develop best practice solutions and benefit from lessons learned, which translate into a reduction or elimination of time-intensive efforts to research, assess, refine and document customer needs.