Not unlike Michael Jordan in the 1997 NBA Finals–battling illness and requiring cold medicine–General Services Administration (GSA) CIO David Shive today spoke about how implementing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has reduced costs for GSA, and how the agency has made efforts to better engage with start-ups.

Technology modernization has been an important point of emphasis for GSA, which has allowed the agency to cut its IT budget by 17.8 percent year-over-year.

“I’m a steward of taxpayer dollars, so I have a fiduciary obligation to know what I’m investing in–maximize value to the highest degree possible,” Shive said during an address at the ServiceNow Federal Summit, adding that the agency knows how much is spent on every paper clip, pencil, server, and network.

Implementing AI and automation has been key in reducing the IT budget for GSA. Shive mentioned that having a solid infrastructure was an important factor in being able to implement AI and automation more easily, adding that it’s important to be “doing well at basic stuff.”

Engaging with start-up companies is also important to GSA. In working with start-ups, Shive described GSA’s pivot towards agile acquisitions for more flexibility, and in becoming more agile, GSA has shifted towards 90-day contracts rather than five-year contracts, which can better suit some small tech firms.

In terms of attracting IT talent to the public sector, Shive told the audience it was good practice to do their best at retaining the excellent talent an agency already has, and that it’s the mission of the agency that drives people to the public sector. He said that an agency mission people believe in will help attract talent to do meaningful work, rather than chase a paycheck in the private sector.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.