Over the next year, the Obama administration expects the federal government to spend upwards of $7 billion on cloud computing and other provisioned services, and a growing number of agencies will clamor toward cloud’s promises of IT cost savings and performance increases.
But it’s no newsflash to either government officials who’ve moved to commercial cloud platforms or the General Services Administration – which runs the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program office – that transitioning from legacy technology to cloud is never as easy as the phrase suggests.
The FedRAMP office ensures offerings that cloud services providers bring to government meet minimum security requirements and GSA manages contract vehicles through which agencies can buy cloud services.
But now GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies is pondering its role in helping agencies get to the cloud.
In an industry request for information released Wednesday, OCSIT seeks to gather vendor feedback for how the government might improve the cloud computing experience across five topic areas.
“There are still distinct needs and services GSA could provide to assist agencies greater in their move to the cloud,” the RFI stated, adding that OCSIT “is looking to expand its efforts in cloud by creating a cloud portfolio of products and services that can help agencies as they move to the cloud.”
Among the issues federal agencies face when moving to the cloud are “a drawn out procurement process,” unclear budgets, new legislation and “no insight to what current legacy systems are comprised of,” the solicitation noted.
Even exceptional use cases of cloud computing in government agencies tend to be laden with challenges, as was the case with the Federal Communications Commissions’ recent move.
To cope with what GSA expects will be a continued increase in demand for cloud services, the agency seeks “outside of the box” approaches based on “the needs and the desires of agencies.”
The RFI promotes the idea of exploring “customer journeys” as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.
“No matter where an agency is on their journey to the cloud, OCSIT wants to be able to deliver a product or service that will help an agency get to the cloud faster, with less confusion, and avoid any errors along the way,” the RFI stated. “Agencies need a broad portfolio with the right tools, platforms and consulting help to do this right and to do it quickly.”
Vendors have until Feb. 3 to respond to the RFI.