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Buying cloud services on GSA schedules to get easier

Jul. 9, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By STEVE WATKINS   |   Comments
GSA's Mary Davie wants to see cloud acquisition become easier.
GSA's Mary Davie wants to see cloud acquisition become easier. (James J. Lee / Army Times)

The General Services Administration announced a proposal Wednesday to create a new cloud services category on the Federal Supply Schedules.

The agency issued a request for information proposing to “create a single Cloud Computing Services Special Item Number (SIN) to consolidate and simplify the way that cloud computing is offered on the IT Schedule 70 program. The purpose of this change would be to improve the way that GSA offers cloud computing services through IT Schedule 70, increase visibility and access of cloud computing services to customer agencies, and to provide industry partners the opportunity to differentiate their cloud computing services from other IT related products and services.”

Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said in a July 9 blog post that the new SIN for cloud services will provide agency customers with clear differentiation of cloud services vs. non-cloud IT products and services, and empowered cloud buying through better data. For vendors, the new SIN would provide an opportunity to market distinctive solutions and offerings on IT Schedule 70, which is the most popular vehicle for procuring IT services in government.

READ Mary Davie’s blog post .

And within GSA, the new SIN would enable more granular reporting on cloud sales to enable decision making and help its customers buy better through data.

“The goal of this new SIN would be to provide clear cloud technology differentiation and ease of customer access through systems such as eBuy and GSA Advantage!” Davie said.

“Since SINs create logical categories of services within a Schedule, we envision the creation of a Cloud Computing Services SIN will provide a level of differentiation for customers that would more easily and clearly identify cloud services. Additionally, GSA could establish a set of qualifying requirements that would help customers in identifying cloud services that meet acceptable standards around security, data, and other characteristics,” she said.

Federal agencies have spent more than $800 million on cloud services in the last two years, according to Maynard Crum, acting director of the Office of Strategic Programs within GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. Crum disclosed the figure July 9 at the Federal Cloud Computing Summit conference in Washington.

Crum added that tracking cloud spending by federal agencies is currently a challenge because services and purchases are not typically labeled as cloud procurements. Adding a new SIN will make that easier.

“Hopefully, it will take care of some of the problems we’ve been identifying about — when a customer buys — exactly what is he buying and how do we track it financially,” Crum said.

“The real key to it is an easier way for the customer to buy cloud,” he said.

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