5 questions GSA has about cloud
The General Services Administration stood up its first dedicated cloud computing effort nearly seven years ago, but GSA officials know that federal agencies still find cloud acquisition and migration somewhat daunting. So the agency is seeking industry input on new ways to help government get into the cloud.
In a request for information posted to FedBizOpps.gov on Jan. 6, GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies outlined five key areas where contractors could help GSA build a better cloud portfolio. No matter where agencies are in "their journey to the cloud," the document states, "OCSIT wants to be able to deliver a product or service that will help [them get there] faster, with less confusion, and avoid any errors along the way."
Interested vendors were asked to outline their abilities and insights in the following areas:
1. Governmentwide technology program experience. Since GSA is looking to facilitate cloud adoption across the executive branch -- and sometimes serves state and local governments as well -- OCSIT wants to know what vendors have learned from designing, implementing and evaluating services across multiple agencies.
2. Best ways to build a governmentwide program. What techniques have companies discovered simply don't work when pushing a program governmentwide? What has worked well in past efforts? And what are would-be industry partners looking for in program office for such services?
3. Striking the right balance between products and services. What's the best way to gauge government demand for the tools, services and solutions involved in moving to the cloud? What techniques have vendors used to determine the proper offerings?
4. Forging productive partnerships. What are the key partnerships that must be struck -- in government and the private sector -- to create a successful cloud portfolio? Which ones already exist, and how can the missing links be identified?
5. Thinking like a start-up. "OCSIT consistently builds programs on small budgets but with huge impacts," the RFI states. So what's the minimal viable scope of work for a project like this? And how could a new cloud portfolio program be tested and iterated in a "fail-fast environment?"
All responses are due Feb. 3.
Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN, as well as General Manager of Public Sector 360.
Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.
Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.
Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.