Inside the Reporter’s Notebook – GSA eases burden on agencies, vendors with schedule consolidation

Inside the Reporter’s Notebook is a biweekly dispatch of news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and other events. This is not a column or commentary — it’s news tidbits, strongly-sourced buzz, and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.

As always, we encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions and, of course, news to Jason via...

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Inside the Reporter’s Notebook is a biweekly dispatch of news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and other events. This is not a column or commentary — it’s news tidbits, strongly-sourced buzz, and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.

As always, we encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions and, of course, news to Jason via email.

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GSA eases burden on agencies, vendors with schedule consolidation

The General Services Administration is trying to tame its schedule contracts.

After years of expansion, GSA decided to go in the opposite direction and consolidate its professional services offerings.

On Oct. 1, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service completed a year-long effort to take about 5,000 contracts and 4,500 contractors down to about 4,000 total for both. About 330 vendors held multiple professional schedules, adding cost and time to the administration of the contracts.

Tiffany Hixson, GSA’s regional commissioner and professional services category executive, said Oct. 8 that the agency consolidated eight professional services schedules into one called the professional services schedule.

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Taking the buzz out of the ‘Internet of Things’

The buzz around the term the “Internet of Things (IoT)” isn’t being lost on the government.

Agencies are hearing about the world we are supposedly moving toward — everything is connected, all the time and data is being collected, analyzed and used to help you do everything from buying food to becoming healthier to alerting you to sales at your favorite store.

But sometimes the government must be a little bit of a buzz kill.

The Internet of Things isn’t new to the government, nor is it the next great wave of change. Sorry to all those people who love the IoT concept.

The Oct. 7 AFCEA Bethesda, Maryland, breakfast on IoT made it clear that the government has been in the “Internet of Things” for quite some time, and to go further some fundamental changes need to occur.

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GSA veteran to give VA’s customer service office a much-needed boost

The Veterans Affairs Department’s customer experience office is getting some much needed and welcome help.

Darren Blue, the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service director of the National Capital Region, is joining VA as its deputy chief customer experience officer.

Blue will work with Tom Allin, who leads VA’s effort to radically change how the agency serves veterans.

Allin’s decision to bring on Blue makes total sense. Who better to help with customer service than someone who managed a quarter of all federal real estate and brought in half of all PBS’ revenue?

Add to that the fact that Blue is a veteran, having served in the Army for nine years, including an overseas tour during combat operations in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and it seems like VA has found a good match.

Allin told me Oct. 8 at the ACT-IAC Customer Service Summit in Washington that he was excited for Blue to join VA and very much welcomed the additional help.

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