Back in June I had read a blog post, Flag Day Marks 15 Years Of Innovation At GSA, by Casey Coleman, Chief Information Officer for U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). Effective government is always on the burner as a hot topic. Ms. Coleman’s topic had reminded me how IT helps federal agencies to create – politics aside – a more effective government.
June 14th 2011 – the USA observed Flag Day – marked the 15th anniversary of a significant milestone for a General Services Administration of US Government. On that day in in 1996, GSA reached the goal of giving all of its employees access to the world wide web – the internet. GSA was one of first federal agencies to provide this technology to its entire workforce, and one of the very few at the time.
Back in 1996 GSA knew that internet access would bring greater value to the work that is done. The goal was set to get GSA employees online by Flag Day. Today we can only imagine the work that needed to be done to overcome the logistical challenge of getting access to each desktop, and then through first-time-users challenges.
This past June, 15 years after original inception, GSA is still one of the leaders in federal information technology among other government agencies.
“We view IT as an investment in the productivity, morale, and success of our employees, rather than an end unto itself. More change is coming, as we pilot new devices such as tablets and smartphones. GSA is investing in high-definition videoconferencing capabilities, called Telepresence, for not only our agency but as a service to the entire federal government. By bringing parties together virtually, we are helping all agencies to be greener and to fulfill their sustainability goals.” – said Ms. Coleman in her post.
GSA is providing employees and stakeholders with modern productivity tools: for example, an agency-wide Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecommunications services were deployed, including softphones on laptops, as well as network upgrades for remote access capabilities were performed. GSA is equipped for telework and mobility.