‘Federal fixation’ leaves software vendors at a loss
August 16, 2017
Commentary: The founder and CEO of Everlaw encourages IT vendors not to overlook the state and local government market and offers a few tips to get started.
The digital team's expansion grew out of a successful $400 million pilot project with California Department of Social Services last year to upgrade its legacy Child Welfare System.
The General Services Administration's digital tiger team, 18F, is expanding its services to state and local governments that get funding and grants from federal agencies — and bringing in new blood to head up the effort.
The team piloted the new effort in 2015 with the California Department of Social Services to modernize its Child Welfare System, a $400 million project, according to GSA. A team of digital and procurement experts from 18F worked directly with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services personnel in California overseeing the project.
HHS believes the partnership will result in a cost savings of 50 percent and a quicker turnaround for better child care because 18F helped the state of California rethink its approach to modernizing the system, GSA said. 18F encouraged the state to design an agile and modular system dependent on a series of smaller contracts rather than a single large, risky procurement from one vendor.
“Federal agencies already provide millions of dollars each year to fund state and local government technology projects,” GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth said in a statement. “Now even more Americans will benefit from the world-class expertise at 18F, while partnering with federal agencies that provide grants to state and local programs allows GSA to help stretch those dollars even further."
Former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan joined 18F — now 165 members strong — to head the team's new state and local government practice.
As a state elected official, nothing caused me to lose more sleep than launching a new website or technology platform,” Carnahan said. “Using our federal agency partnerships to give state and local officials access to 18F’s digital experts and services is a great way to help more citizens and save millions of dollars for taxpayers. It just makes sense for everyone.”