Department of the Navy - Stan Evans
From the Department of the Navy, Stan Evans shares his past experiences with the GSA SmartPay transition process, best practices and lessons learned.
IT Specialist Project Manager
Department of the Navy,
Third tour with CCPMD
What is your role with the GSA SmartPay program (A/OPC, AO, etc.)?
I am the Department of the Navy's GSA SmartPay Program Manager.
Describe some of your responsibilities related to past GSA SmartPay transitions.
I am responsible for project planning and execution ( i.e. MS Project Plans, Communication Plans, change, issue and risk management, communications and metrics).
In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of transition?
Communication - everything revolved around communication with my management, team members, agencies, APCs, banks and cardholders. It’s important to keep all stakeholders, especially management, on the same sheet of paper as to past work/decisions as well as current and future activities. We had management support at all levels because we kept them informed, which provided support to the various hierarchies for providing attention and effort to transition activities. We were also able to resolve unknowns or differences with the bank through issue and change management reviewed during every meeting.
Describe some of the things that went well during transition?
The transition itself was uneventful and transparent to customers, which was a tribute to all involved. Afterwards, constant communications with the bank helped establish the new working relationships.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the transition from SP1 to SP2 and how are you preparing to address it this time?
The biggest challenge was getting the master file to the new SP2 bank. We changed vendors and were therefore changing the bank's Electronic Access System. A lot of effort was put into getting the data correct and complete. We started emphasizing this to HL3s early for SP3.
APCs have already begun scrubbing accounts by:
- Ensuring cardholders’ contact information is updated
- Reconciling accounts to zero
- Credit balances
- Past due
- Current charges
- Monitoring and closing inactive accounts unless justification provided to keep account open
- Removing separated cardholders
What are some of the lessons learned based on your past experience with the GSA SmartPay transition?
- Communicate transition activities/information of interest to stakeholders.
- Plan, track (progress and completion) and adjust transition activities to include communications.
- Scrub data early.
What support can the banks best provide?
- Provide a transition project manager to coordinate with the agency throughout transition.
- Meet with agencies at least weekly.
- Track all issues (things unknown and different views) that require changes (usually to the bank’s Electronic Access System).
When should an agency begin scrubbing its master file?
Three months ago or now.
What advice do you have for new A/OPCs who are going through their first transition?
Attend or have a representative attend all transition meetings and do not be afraid to ask questions.
Any other comments that you would like to share?
Keep all SP3 documentation for SP4 - you will be glad you did! The GSA tool set is a great guide for getting through the transition, whether you have experience with a transition or not.