OMB’s New Approach on Shared Services Limits Acquisitions, Emphasizes Standards

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A new memo released today by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revamps the Federal government’s approach to shared services by establishing lead agencies for business support areas, including cybersecurity, and requiring agencies to meet government-wide standards and gain approval to go outside shared services.

“This is not a project – it’s a fundamental change in our operating model for how we deliver common services across the Federal government,” said Federal CIO Suzette Kent during a press briefing on the memo today.

The memo establishes four initial areas that will take the new approach to shared services, as well as the lead agency – or Quality Service Management Office (QSMO) – for each area.

  • Cybersecurity Services will be led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
  • Civilian Human Resources Transactions will be led by the General Services Administration (GSA);
  • Core Financial Management will be led by the Department of the Treasury; and
  • Grants Management will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

For each of these areas, the QSMO agencies will lead the creation and adoption of a suite of quality shared services and standards on agency solutions. For the first four QSMOs, agencies will leverage existing efforts like the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program in the cybersecurity area, or the NewPay effort in the HR Transactions function.

The biggest change agencies can expect to see is the need to have a business case approved to procure new technology and services in these areas. Approval must come from the agency’s point of contact, the agency CIO, the QSMO agency, and OMB to procure services outside of the suite of available shared services offered by the QSMO.

“The memo and supporting website identify functions targeted for standardization, provides structural directives for managing delivery of mission-support services, and outlines how the federal government will plan for and deliver improved business support services, maintain modern solutions, and make services more affordable for agencies,” said Kent in a statement from OMB.

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