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Cloud Computing

How to Sell the “Cloud” to the Federal Government

While the term “cloud computing” seems to have sprung up in recent years, the concept behind it is not new. Cloud computing is essentially any web-based solution that offers on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources (networks, servers, etc…). Because cloud computing is web-based, it offers unlimited accessibility, allows for automatic updates, and comes at a significant cost reduction compared to traditional, non web-based solutions.

Cloud computing has been identified as a cost-effective, sustainable means to advancing the President”s Information Technology (IT) modernization efforts. In September of 2009, the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative (FCCI) was created to encourage the government-wide adoption of cloud computing solutions.

How are government agencies procuring cloud computing solutions?

Apps.gov has positioned itself as the main, online storefront for federal cloud computing solutions. Cloud computing services on apps.gov are broken down differently depending upon whether you are a potential federal buyer, or a vendor offering services. For vendors, cloud computing solutions are broken down into three main categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas).

Software as a Service (SaaS)

All vendors must first hold a GSA Information Technology (IT) Schedule 70 Contract before they can place any offering on apps.gov. According to apps.gov, in order to place SaaS solutions on the online storefront, vendors must first login to e-Buy and respond to RFQ396098. Vendors must then upload – or re-upload – their electronic catalog file to GSAAdvantage!. SaaS solutions must be identified by entering the appropriate “Cloud Category Code” as designated by GSA, under the “Contractor (Vendor) Part Number” field.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) & Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)

Unfortunately, vendors that offer IaaS and PaaS solutions do not currently have a method of placing their solutions on apps.gov, but should begin the process of obtaining a GSA Schedule 70 Contract in order to position themselves for future opportunities.

While GSA has not yet announced a time frame for the addition of PaaS solutions to apps.gov, IaaS solutions will soon be available. GSA issued a close-ended RFQ for IaaS solutions in 2009 and the 11 winners were announced last month. Vendors who did not make the IaaS contract award should closely watch FedBizOpps, as apps.gov states future opportunities will be available and will be announced through that online portal.

Not yet on the GSA IT Schedule 70 Contract? Need to make changes to your Contract? Contact Us!