GSA TTS at the Crossroads–New Digital Transformer?

Joann Collins Smee

We’re sitting at a critical inflection point in Federal IT.  Cloud wars are raging, AI’s bubbling, and IoT’s, well, almost literally, everywhere.  And, as in any conflict, the first casualty is all too often the truth.  That’s why the General Services Administration’s digital transformation ninja team – the artist currently known as Technology Transformation Services or TTS – owns a critical mission, helping Federal agencies navigate the hype to get to enhanced value for the American taxpayer.

TTS’ portfolio includes 18F, 18F acquisition, FedRAMP, and the IT Modernization Centers of Excellence.  It’s been making great progress working with the Department of Agriculture on Centers of Excellence.  TTS has also struck a new harmonious balance in public-private partnership.  At one time, TTS and 18F caught flak for competing with industry.  Today, the organization’s playing better with industry and actually spurring new industry entrants into the government space.

But, the future of TTS was thrown up in the air by Joanne Collins-Smee’s August 2 announcement that she’ll leave the agency.  The question, who takes the helm next – and how can TTS maintain its positive momentum while the new leader gets to know government, the organization, and of course the employees and customer requirements? Let’s face it, our world is not easy to get – we have our own language and centers of gravity.  Government and industry are both hoping for continuity through the transition.

Dominic Sale, the assistant commissioner of operations at TTS, presents a strong caretaker option to execute against Collins-Smee’s vision.  Sale’s an experienced government IT expert–but he retains the critical curiosity to question the status quo.  With more than a decade in the Federal government, he served at the Transportation Department and Office of Management and Budget before joining GSA. Sale’s experience at OMB furnishes critical insight on the challenges agencies face as they juggle compliance, budgets, and mission outcomes.

The recent FITARA scorecard and pressure to turn rhetoric around MGT into real results reinforces the need for practical, hands-on leadership at GSA TTS.  Joanne Collins-Smee and her team have made great progress, here’s hoping that Emily Murphy and the leaders at GSA keep those good vibrations happening…

Steve O'Keeffe
About Steve O'Keeffe
Steve O'Keeffe is the founder of MeriTalk, the government IT network. MeriTalk is an online community that hosts professional networking, thought leadership, and focused events to drive the government IT dialogue. A 20-year veteran of the government IT community, O'Keeffe has worked in government and industry. In addition to MeriTalk, he founded Mobile Work Exchange, GovMark Council, and O’Keeffe & Company.