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GSA Considers New Cloud Contract Vehicle

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The General Services Administration is examining new ways for agencies to to buy cloud computing services. 

In a request for information issued last week, GSA asked for information from agencies as well as from technology contractors about new business models for cloud services, other than traditional methods such as blanket purchase agreements for repetitive orders of infrastructure-as-a-service and email-as-a-service. 

Responses are due by March 13.

A new system might help federal customers keep up with new cloud products and services, among other potential benefits, according to the RFI.

For instance, the administration asked both agencies and contractors for input on a new "centralized contract model." GSA did not respond to request for clarification on centralized cloud contracts, but noted in the RFI that responses would be used to to "inform a GSA decision on the potential creation of a new cloud contract vehicle."

As part of the request, GSA also asked government agencies to propose new processes for monitoring cloud consumption costs, and to list acquisition support services GSA should offer, among other requests.

Industry groups were asked to list the barriers they encounter in selling cloud services to government, and to describe how they might modify their commercial pricing structure for federal contracts.

A new cloud contracting vehicle could be welcome news for agencies looking to make the leap to the cloud. Despite a big push by the Obama administration, a Government Accountability Office report last fall found many agencies were making only fitful cloud migrations.

The half-dozen agencies reviewed by GAO increased spending on cloud services by a total of just 1 percent and failed to consider cloud services for nearly three-quarters of their IT investments.

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