GSA plans one-stop shop cloud marketplace
NOTE: This story first appeared on FCW.com.
The General Services Administration (GSA) plans to launch a cloud marketplace to serve as a comprehensive framework and one-stop shop for federal agencies seeking cloud solutions, according to Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
The GSA official told FCW the marketplace would feature both post-award contract management tools and professional IT services, along with a “foundational set of requirements” to ensure cloud solutions comply with a baseline set of security requirements and FedRAMP guidance.
“We’re looking at how we put together a cloud marketplace that then becomes a buying platform for agencies,” Stanton said on Thursday during FCW’s Agency Spotlight webinar. “We want to put together not just a framework, but a market contractual vehicle that will allow our agencies to buy these core cloud services that we’re seeing them need more and more.”
The GSA has released a steady stream of guidelines around buying cloud services and solutions in recent years, and set up a cloud information center to equip agencies with crowdsourced, strategic acquisition resources. But it eventually realized a vehicle was needed in order to effectively serve government agencies and industry stakeholders, according to Stanton, who oversees more than 7,000 contracts and nearly $30 billion in annual government spending.
“We keep hearing that agencies have to go multiple places to buy cloud,” Stanton said. “We decided it was time to take the next step.”
A request for information is scheduled for release in the coming weeks, the GSA official noted, adding that input from industry stakeholders “helps us understand how we need to make decisions.”
GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) launched multiple initiatives focusing on automation opportunities and improving the customer experience. These include a set of acquisition modernization goals around catalog management, data and automation.
Changes won’t be made overnight. Sonny Hashmi, FAS commissioner, has already warned that efforts to transform the agency’s buying and selling experience is a long term project.
“We are working on a set of systems, processes and experiences that have been built over the last 30 years,” Hashmi said at a Coalition for Government Procurement Conference panel in July. “In fact, today, there are systems running that are 40 years old. It’s not just about putting a new lipstick on the same back end, it’s not about just adding a little automation to connect the dots, we have to fundamentally rethink some of these things.”
Chris Riotta is a staff writer at FCW covering government procurement and technology policy. Chris joined FCW after covering U.S. politics for three years at The Independent. He earned his master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president.