White House Moves to Reform Mobile Service Procurement

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The White House issued a memorandum Thursday, requiring that agencies take new steps to improve their procurement and management of mobile devices and services.

Agencies must improve their mobile service inventories and contribute to a governmentwide plan for mobile service needs by:

1. Reporting agency usage and eliminating unnecessary inventory and service on a quarterly basis;

2. Reducing the number of contracts for mobile devices and services and transition to a

governmentwide solution or solutions; and

3. Modifying demand management practices to optimize plan pricing and device refresh schedules.

“Too often, agencies buy excessive levels of service, such as unlimited data and minute plans, when a lesser amount of data or number of minutes pooled across many thousands of users would meet the demands of the agency without risk of overage charges,” Anne Rung, U.S. chief acquisition officer, and Tony Scott, U.S. chief information officer, said in the memorandum.

The White House Officer of Management and Budget is requiring agencies to submit their mobile service usage and pricing data to the Integrated Data Collection quarterly, which is due by Nov. 30. OMB will then post the data to the Acquisition Gateway to assist the agencies in purchasing mobile services.

Agencies should keep track of this data in order to watch the breakdown of their mobile contracts and consolidate their requirements, optimize the level of service required by ensuring that agencies aren’t overpaying for services they don’t use, and establish an agencywide policy for identifying and terminating unused devices and services.

The memorandum wants government agencies to pool their resources to pay for mobile services across agencies and minimize overage charges. The memorandum states that all civilian agencies must leverage the existing General Services Administration mobile solutions. Also, the Department of Defense should leverage existing mobile solutions available through the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and the GSA mobile solution.

Agencies must consolidate all of their minute and data requirements to one contract per carrier using a governmentwide acquisition strategy by Sept. 30, 2018.

The memorandum establishes the Mobile Services Category Team (MSCT), which is comprised of subject matter experts and will develop a strategic plan for mobile services by Oct. 31, 2016.

Agencies can choose not to use the governmentwide solution but they must provide justification for why their plan makes more sense in terms of conditions, pricing, performance, fees, and savings.

The memorandum requires agencies to appoint a category lead and team to focus on mobile devices and services. The team will report to the CIO to establish an inventory of mobile contracts, identify opportunities for consolidation, track savings, and make recommendations.

“Improving the management of mobile service contracts is a critical step in information resource management and in improving value to the taxpayers,” Rung and Scott said. “The actions described above will reduce duplication, improve pricing, and better leverage the government’s vast buying power.”

Morgan Lynch
About Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.
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