Shared Services: Putting a Stop to Federal Inefficiency

Mike O'Brien

It’s no secret that government, local, state and federal, has trouble with efficiency and duplication was the name of the game for decades.

Lack of communication between offices has always been at the heart of the problem, with various departments wasting time and resources by needlessly performing the same functions.

As federal funding cutbacks turned into a reality the need for shared services became a top priority and in May of last year the first major initiative was launched by federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.

The Federal IT Shared Services Strategy details the steps agencies must take to start chipping away at more than $46 billion in duplicate IT investments.

The drive to consolidate services will be the focus of IDGA’s Shared Services for Government Online Event next month.

John White, the Director of the National Finance Center at the Department of Agriculture, will discuss the consolidation of federal financial resources. As with other finance centers, the Department of Agriculture has seen its share of duplication challenges.

He will also focus on the utilization of financial best practices when managing large-scale change projects and redesigns and vastly improve the development of a financial center from one of excess spending to a smooth running organization.

A survey conducted by Federal News Radio back in August of 2012 indicated that CFOs remained tepid on shared services. The study’s results showed that 36 percent rated moving to a shared services model their fourth highest priority, and nine percent rated it as their third highest priority.

However, sequestration, budget cuts, globalization and other factors are driving CFOs to take a new look at shared services.

Typical areas where shared services are proving effective are Planning and Budgeting, Administrative Management, HR and Supply Chain Management.

The Chief Information Officers Council introduced an Uncle Sam’s List to give agencies a one-stop shop for finding and buying shared services and in April the Council released a shared-services implementation guide.

The guide breaks down shared services into three categories: Firstly, there’s Commodity IT which includes data centers, networks, software and mobile hardware and software.

Secondly, Support IT includes the more traditional shared services such as human resources, financial management, cyber security and grants management.

Lastly, Mission Critical IT is something of a variant on the traditional idea of shared services. It's a shared service done by one agency or just a few agencies that is specific to their day-to-day goals. A typical example would be identity management at the border, which may be a task that only the Homeland Security Department carries out.

So don’t miss out on the chance to find out all you need to know about this hot topic. An impressive line-up of speakers has been brought together for the event.

They include Tim Soltis, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Department of Education; Radha Sekar, Chief Financial Officer, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS; John White, Director, National Finance Center, Department of Agriculture; Rebecca Dubuisson, Deputy Director, Shared Services Center, NASA.

The event takes place on July 23 and July 24 and all sessions are recorded so if you can't make a particular session, you can access it at a more convenient time.

To register for the event, and to read the full agenda, go to