Desktop Outsourcing: Positive Results Reported, but Analyses Could Be Strengthened

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reviewed federal agencies' use of "seat management"--an information technology (IT) outsourcing alternative for distributed computing services. Under "seat management," contractor-owned desktop and other computing hardware, software, and related services are bundled and provided on the basis of a fixed price per unit. No single overarching reason emerged for agencies adoption of seat management. The most common rationales were to improve IT management, improve user support and productivity, and upgrade agency IT. All six agencies GAO reviewed reported that their seat management approaches had yielded positive ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. March 29, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reviewed federal agencies' use of "seat management"--an information technology (IT) outsourcing alternative for distributed computing services. Under "seat management," contractor-owned desktop and other computing hardware, software, and related services are bundled and provided on the basis of a fixed price per unit. No single overarching reason emerged for agencies adoption of seat management. The most common rationales were to improve IT management, improve user support and productivity, and upgrade agency IT. All six agencies GAO reviewed reported that their seat management approaches had yielded positive results, such as better IT management and desk-help support. However, GAO could not determine whether any of the agencies were achieving expected costs benefits because they did not perform sufficient up-front analyses of their baseline and projected costs and benefits or routinely monitor all actual seat management costs and benefits. Four of the six agencies identified risks associated with seat management, such as possible cost overruns, schedule delays, or contractor performance problems. However, none of the agencies prioritized their risks, and only one identified actions to mitigate risks before implementing seat management. Agencies and seat management contractors have identified the following lessons from their implementation experiences: (1) agency commitment is crucial, especially by top management; (2) thorough up-front preparation and planning activities must be completed; (3) solicitation and contract award activities should be carefully managed; (4) program and contract management activities, including monitoring contractor performance, are key; (5) partnerships between agencies and the seat management contractors, in which they have common goals, are critical; and (6) effective and continual communication within the agency, with the seat management contractor, and among contractors working on related activities, is important."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 29, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Desktop Outsourcing: Positive Results Reported, but Analyses Could Be Strengthened, report, March 29, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290399/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.