The General Services Administration’s special contracting vehicle for agencies looking to buy cloud services is live.
The new cloud special item number, or SIN, within GSA’s IT Schedule 70 is meant to make it easier and faster for agencies to find and buy legitimate cloud services. The cloud SIN comes in three sub-categories — software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service — which will more clearly define exactly what agencies are buying from industry, GSA said in a release.
“The cloud SIN will help our industry partners easily provide distinctive cloud solutions and offerings, aligning cloud technology services on Schedule 70 to accurately reflect the current cloud computing market as well as streamline access to the cloud technologies needed by GSA’s customer agencies,” the release says.
GSA began pursuing the creation of the new SIN for cloud services last July with a request for information, which Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services, said drew more than 60 industry responses. Shortly before releasing the draft terms and conditions for the vehicle, GSA convened industry and government representatives to discuss the purpose of the cloud SIN.
Mark Day, deputy assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services, explained then how the new vehicle could legitimize the cloud marketplace for federal buyers, which he said usually consists of managed services “with some cloud sprinkled on top.”
“I think that’s a subtle fact that most of us believe, that it is an approximation of the cloud model that is coming out of most of our contracts,” Day said. “It’s not really the pure cloud model [found] in the commercial space.”
This new SIN, though, should alleviate the current pain points in cloud procurement through greater flexibility and control for federal customers, Day and his GSA colleagues explained.
Vendors that don’t currently hold an IT Schedule 70 contract are required to submit a proposal to join the cloud SIN. Those Schedule 70 holders, as well as vendors on the infrastructure-as-a-service and email-as-a-service BPAs, will need to submit a modification to add the SIN to their current offerings, GSA said.
As this SIN is launched, GSA’s Cloud Computing Services project management is also at work exploring the future of cloud procurement through other models. The office released an RFI in February for that potential new vehicle.
“We want feedback from customers and industry to determine if another vehicle is truly necessary, and if so, what is the best way to create the solution,” Stan Kaczmarczyk, director of GSA’s cloud computing project management office, told FedScoop. “We’re not going in with preconceived notions, we are going to let the data and feedback determine the outcome.”