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FCW : July 15, 2013
26 July 15, 2013 FCW.COM To deliver on its mission to provide the best value to the federal government and taxpayers, the General Services Administration explores any acquisition strategy or busi- ness model that can save the government time and money and allow it to gain access to critical technologies faster than ever before. To that end, GSA --- in collaboration with NASA and the departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Serv- ices, Labor, Justice, and Defense --- published a request for information in July 2012 to explore the idea of a cloud brokerage. The RFI was issued in an effort to gain input from industry on how GSA could better deploy a cloud services brokerage to maximize the government s adoption and ef cient use of cloud computing services. It is worth noting that the concept of a cloud broker covers a number of roles that Gartner, a leading expert on IT markets, has summarized as aggregator, integrator and customizer. Each of those roles can entail a number of functions. Our current research is looking into each role and function and determining which, if any, are appropriate for GSA s role in acquisition support for cloud procurement and services for the government. If our market research does not indicate value to the government in proceeding with a broker-based offering, then we will not proceed. Various implementation models are possible and were proposed in the RFI responses. The cloud broker need not be a holistically outsourced entity subsuming all roles, nor could it in the government space under the Federal Acqui- sition Regulation. Other models include GSA as the broker deploying software tools to leverage greater spending power with service providers, and still others deal with integration and customization services providing broad cloud migra- tion support to agencies. One of the potential bene ts of cloud brokerage serv- ices is that the brokers could identify competitive services and provide ongoing competition among cloud providers to encourage both price reductions and continual updates of the technology. To understand how a cloud broker, in any of the vari- ous roles identi ed, might improve government success in using cloud computing, GSA has sought insight from independent research. For example, through a worldwide survey, Gartner identi ed that more than 40 percent of IT managers believe that a cloud broker service adds value when selecting a cloud service provider. Evaluating industry input Interest in the government s RFI was high. The information day had more than 140 participants from more than 60 industry partners looking to share their knowledge. A diverse mix of businesses formally responded to the RFI, whose language was purposely broad in scope to elicit suggestions on possible approaches. We received: • 81 responses --- 54 percent from large businesses, 42 percent from small businesses and 4 percent from midsize businesses. • 1,481 pages of information. Of the 81 respondents: • 77 percent were considered to be in favor of a cloud brokerage model. • 11 percent were neutral. • 12 percent were against the model. GSA conducted Round 1 discussions with a number of RFI respondents, including those who were against the concept, in February. GSA then selected a subset of those respondents for Round 2 discussions with the participa- GSA and the cloud broker model Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of integrated technology services, clari es GSA's role and plans for supporting agencies' move to the cloud FirstPer son
June 30, 2013
July 30, 2013