GSA to make new bid for agency customers

GSA to offer contracts in the areas of cloud computing, transparency

The General Services Administration is gearing up to offer help to federal agencies looking to participate in the Obama administration’s initiatives on transparency and cloud computing, a GSA official said today.

GSA hopes to win customers that otherwise might have developed their own contracts or services.

“We see the administration’s requirements, we respond by initiating some kind of contract action, and make it fast and easy for government agencies to use,” said Ed O’Hare, the new assistant commissioner for Integrated Technology Services (ITS) at GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. He spoke at a FedSources breakfast meeting.

Obama administration officials have created numerous Web sites, such as Recovery.gov and Data.gov, to offer more information to the public. The new chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, is also moving ahead on the use of cloud computing.

O’Hare described cloud computing as a data center wrapped up with software as a solution. He wants to make it possible for agencies to buy such services using government credit cards, especially when they’re under deadline.

“You don’t have to go to the [CIO], you don’t have to go plan it, you don’t have to go buy servers or digital maps or do” certification and accreditation, O’Hare said. Instead, he would like agencies to be able to log onto a Web site, answer a few questions about their needs and then, “Boom, check out, you got it.”

With O’Hare as the chief of ITS, experts now expect greater attention to day-to-day operations. They say he has been on the industry side of GSA and worked inside the agency, and therefore understands how ITS runs.

When John Johnson retired earlier this month as assistant commissioner for ITS, major contracts had been awarded and customers were placing orders. That leaves O’Hare to deal with how the office runs.

“My job is to make it work,” O'Hare said. He wants to make ITS and GSA’s information technology services faster, better and cheaper than what other agencies can offer.

He also talked about reducing the time it takes to get an IT contract on GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules program. Contractors are frustrated because it can take months to get on the IT Schedule 70 or modify one of those contracts.

“I know we’ve got to do better,” O’Hare said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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