Oops: GSA official overstates cloud savings

Misstatement multiplies actual savings by a factor of 500

The General Services Administration has acknowledged that the agency has not, in fact, saved $850 million through cloud computing services, as the senior GSA official in charge of cloud computing told an audience at FOSE.

The savings are actually about $1.7 million per year, the agency now says.

At a conference on March 23, the GSA’s Katie Lewin said the agency saved $850 million through a cloud computing application. Lewin is the chief of staff in the GSA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and program manager for the GSA’s cloud computing initiative. She made the estimate while speaking on a panel discussing federal cloud computing initiatives at the FOSE conference.

On March 26, a GSA press secretary speaking on Lewin’s behalf said that Lewin may have misspoken. The press secretary said the estimated savings were $1.7 million, making the $850 million figure an error by a factor of 500.

At the FOSE event, Lewin was discussing use cases for cloud computing on the Apps.gov federal Web site. As for the GSA use case, she said, “we saved $850 million.”

In a question-and-answer session, Lewin was asked to elaborate on how the savings were achieved, and over what time frame. She said the $850 million represented “savings and cost avoidance” by using cloud computing for USA.gov. She declined to offer further details, instead directing a reporter to send her an e-mail message.

Caren Auchman, press secretary for the GSA, responded in an e-mail message on March 26 stating that “Katie had told me that she may have misspoke [sic] on the panel.”

By moving USA.gov to the cloud, the GSA has saved $1.7 million a year, Auchman wrote in the e-mail message.

 

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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