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FCW : September 30, 2015
September 30, 2015 FCW.COM 25 records or IT security. And the IG recommended that the Peace Corps terminate all pilot users from GSA’s Google Apps cloud pilot and start over with a requirements analysis, an acquisition analysis and an IT security assessment before signing any agreement with a cloud services provider. The Peace Corps is still exploring cloud email solutions, but the shared- services approach with GSA appears to be off the table. Steve Kousen, vice president of cloud strategy and integration services at Unisys Federal, acknowledged some bumps along the way with projects like the Peace Corps’ email system. “We have to make the acquisition of cloud-based services easier and more streamlined,” he said. “It’s about agility, it’s about speed, and it’s about doing more with less people.” One agency that’s tackling the acquisition problem for cloud-based shared services is the Interior Department, which offers what it calls Foundation Cloud Hosting Services. This acquisition vehicle allows customers to purchase cloud-based offerings from Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and others. Ten systems integrators, including Unisys, are on the FCHS deal, which could be worth $10 billion over the next decade. “This vehicle is alive and going very well,” Kousen said, adding that his company is receiving requests from various Interior components and other agencies. Interior has a history of running shared services through its Interior Business Center, which manages financial systems for 17 agencies. Indeed, experts say such centers are likely to deploy cloud-based offerings in areas such as human resources, payroll, financial management and procurement to ease the acquisition process for smaller agencies. “Interior is migrating to SAP in the cloud,” Kousen said. “Now we’re really starting to talk about core enterprise management systems in the cloud. That’s the next wave.” OMB mandates expected One question is whether OMB will outline specific mandates for agencies to migrate to cloud-based shared services. “Everybody knows shared services are imminent,” Beyer said. “The question is what this administration can do over the next 15 to 19 months that leaves a blueprint and legacy to move agencies toward shared services. Any administration that comes in is going to adopt this. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. The issue is what the Obama administration can do to lay a strong foundation for the next public servants.” Greer said OMB is likely to forbid agencies from upgrading their human resources systems and instead require them to adopt a shared service similar to the steps it has taken with financial management applications. Because many agencies have enterprise software licenses that expire in the 2017-2018 timeframe, Greer predicts that there will be a spike in shared-services migrations during that time period. “If you’re a Cabinet-level agency, you can no longer upgrade an old legacy financial management system,” he said. “You have to prove why you can’t go to a shared-services provider or cloud-based service. OMB is looking to entice or force shared- services consolidation. If HR follows that direction, it will be an important milestone.” He added that he doesn’t think the Obama administration’s lame-duck status will affect the slow but steady shift to cloud-based shared services because the cost savings are too great. “Shared services is good government, and it’s part of a strategic effort to improve government efficiency,” Greer said. “It’s a bipartisan issue that I think all parties would want to implement and provide savings to the taxpayers.” n OBSTACLES TO SHARED SERVICES 1. Acquisition processes 2. Data standardization 3. Migration costs 4. Security concerns 5. Questions of control 0930fcw_012-028.indd 25 9/9/15 10:24 AM
September 15, 2015