U.S. Department of State - Margaret Colaianni
U. S. Department of State, Office of Acquisitions Management
Describe some of your responsibilities related to the GSA SmartPay program.
I am the Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) responsible for the Department of State’s Purchase Card program that includes 270 posts around the world. My responsibilities include the management and administration of the Department’s robust program including strategic planning, resource allocation, training, policy development and implementation of program enhancements such as our Purchase Card Management & Reporting System (PMARS).
How does your agency/organization use the GSA SmartPay program to accomplish its mission?
The Purchase Card program has become one of the cornerstones of our procurement operation. It enables both domestic and overseas cardholders to purchase supplies and services needed to support mission requirements. Our Cardholders maximize use of the program through both in store and online orders.
What do you see as the major benefits of the GSA SmartPay program?
One benefit is the flexibility the program provides by allowing each agency to tailor its program to meet unique mission needs. In our case, this involves extensive overseas operations which differ from domestic activity due to the unique challenges of operating in the different regions of the world. A second benefit is the tremendous support and guidance the program offers to agency A/OPCs. GSA is often my “go to” place when I need to find the answer to questions or issues that impact the Department’s operations. Finally, we benefit from the collaborative role GSA plays in bringing together Agency A/OPCs through discussion of best practices, new legislation or regulations.
What are three words that you’d use to describe the GSA SmartPay program?
Collaborative, supportive and cutting edge.
What is the most interesting/important way that you’ve seen the GSA SmartPay program used within your agency/organization? Any special projects/special purchases that you’d like highlight?
We are migrating completely away from all paper processes to our automated Purchase Card application – PMARS – which will eliminate paper-based card applications, “toolkits” for limit increases and one time forced authorization requests, etc. Developed in-house, PMARS leverages Department and regulatory requirements into an intuitive and customer oriented tool that significantly reduces request processing times, increases program transparency, improves data integrity and helps ensure compliance with mandatory OIG, OMB and FAR requirements. To date, PMARS has been deployed to more than 212 overseas posts and to 20 domestic bureaus.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer to A/OPCs?
Take the time to build a solid foundation for your program.
What’s one fact/piece of information about the GSA SmartPay program that you’d like to share with the general public?
A/OPCs should not hesitate to contact GSA when they need assistance or the answer to a challenging program question. GSA is a wealth of information.
Any other comments that you’d like to share?
I appreciate all the guidance from other agencies along the way, especially when I first arrived to the GSA SmartPay program. This help was invaluable!