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FCW : May 15, 2015
Cloud and service-driven IT demands are bringing new vendors into the equation — and prompting radical evolution among the perennial industry partners AYBOOKS BY TROY K. SCHNEIDER Strange things are afoot in federal IT. Companies that a decade ago were nowhere to be found on contracts — and in some cases did not even exist — are working with agencies on mission-critical systems. Splunk is supplying the analytics to monitor the F-35 stealth AT&T The Alliant contract and Schedule 70 spot are evidence of a shifting federal focus fighter’s systems and performance data. Monster Government Solutions now works with virtually every Cabinet agency on recruiting and retaining staff. Salesforce.com has established a thriving applications ecosystem, and Amazon Web Services is called out by name in requests for proposals. The traditional IT powerhouses, meanwhile, are hardly standing still. Unisys — the company that sold the first computer to the government — is now working with several agencies on predictive analytics and has emerged as a leader in software-defined security. AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon have all evolved far beyond their telecom roots. Microsoft — long the godfather of locally installed software and enterprise licenses in government — is now arguably many agencies’ most aggressive cloud enabler. So what exactly is going on? A catalyst in the cloud Perhaps the clearest sign that the federal IT landscape had changed came in early 2013, when FCW broke the news that Amazon had won a $600 million CIA contract to build a private cloud for the intelligence community. In every interview conducted for this story, sources pointed to the CIA deal as a watershed moment. As Deltek Vice Presi- dent Kevin Plexico put it, “10 years ago, if you were to say who are the companies going after that contract, you never would have in a billion years thought of Amazon.” According to Professional Services Council President Stan Soloway, “The Amazon CIA deal was huge not just because it was Amazon’s first big win, but [also] because it said to the national security space, ‘Oh, the national security customer may be willing to do something different,’ at a time when a lot of folks in the national security space did not believe that their customers wanted to go that route.” Dave Wennergren, a former Department of the Navy CIO and longtime Defense Department executive who is now PSC’s senior vice president for technology, agreed and asked: “Does it really mean that it’s a change in the guard, or does that just mean that the way we’re asking for things in a changing marketplace is creating new opportunities?” Changes, yes, but no changing of the guard When it comes to cloud contracts, one thing that is clearly not happening is some wholesale changing of the guard. In a Deltek analysis of known agency cloud contracts to date, Booz Allen Hamilton, Carahsoft, CGI Federal, CoreSphere, DLT Solutions, HP Enterprise Services, IBM, Smartronix and Verizon all have won more awards than Amazon has. “I definitely think there’s some disruption taking place, and it’s forcing...some significant changes in the main stage players,” Plexico said. “In the scheme of dollars, it hasn’t caused a big shift. But in the scheme of business strategy, pricing, partnering and the teaming relationships that have been formed in the past versus the ones that are forming now, I think there are big changes when you look that way.” Alex Rossino, who conducted the cloud-contract research as Deltek’s principal research analyst for federal industry analysis, agreed. “I look at it less from new players that are entering as opposed to old players that are changing in order May 15, 2015 FCW.COM 15
April 30, 2015
May 30, 2015