VA still seeks cloud solutions after canceling contract
- By Frank Konkel
- Jul 30, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs canceled its five-year, $36 million cloud-based enterprise email contract with HP Enterprise Services earlier this month, but the agency isn't giving up on its plans to harness the cloud.
Even though several agencies have saved money by making similar transitions, VA does not plan to issue a new solicitation for the cloud-based email project it had picked HP to carry out, according to a spokesperson.
Still, VA appears to still be committed to meeting the administration's "cloud-first" mandate.
"VA is dedicated to cloud solutions as a strategy to improve efficiency and service delivery," the spokesperson said in a statement to FCW.
The VA spokesperson referred FCW to existing VA systems that take advantage of cloud technology as evidence the sun isn't setting on cloud within the agency.
VA's Veterans Benefits Management System, which is designed to help the agency transition to faster, more efficient paperless claims processing, is based on the cloud, as is VA's cloud-based Chapter 33 Long Term Solution software, designed to deliver education benefits under the G.I. Bill.
"The department is currently using cloud technology in several areas critical to serving veterans, including tools to help end the benefits claims backlog," the spokesperson said.
As FCW first reported, on July 16 VA canceled what was – when it was signed in November 2012 -- one of the federal government's largest cloud computing contracts with HP, citing a material change in the agency's requirements.
The agency offered no further explanation on what changes it made to its requirements, but in procurement terms, the contract was terminated "at the convenience of the government," meaning VA has to pay $150,000 to HP for services performed, plus a potentially sizable settlement.
Under the contract, HP was to eventually move all 600,000 VA employees to Microsoft government community cloud email and calendar services.
Frank Konkel is a staff writer covering big data, mobile, open government and a range of science/technology issues. Connect with him on Twitter at @Frank_Konkel.