GSA looks to a future of everything as a service

Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as a-Service have become common terms in the federal IT vernacular in discussing cloud services. But now General Services Administration is looking to the same business model to include, well, everything else.

Everything-as-a-Service has emerged in the post-personal computer era as a cost-effective, streamlined way to buy IT services and solutions. At the Transportation Department, the EaaS concept emerged internally two or three years ago, when the agency set out to optimize its IT portfolio, said Nitin Pradhan, CIO at DOT.

“We’re not talking about SaaS this or that – we just want everything as a service,” he told the audience at the July 26 Multiple Award Government & Industry Conference in Arlington, Va.

GSA is looking to take the same approach as DOT and be able to pick exactly which solution or service it wants, without committing itself to a bigger package.

EaaS is “certainly not the way we’ve looked at our acquisition model over the past 20 years - we’re grappling with some of the complexities,” Kevin Page, deputy assistant commissioner, Integrated Technology Service at GSA, told the MAGIC audience.

Speaking to FCW after the event, Page explained EaaS as a way to leverage the cloud business model “where you pay by the sip, and then you’re done with it and the relationship is over. We want to have more of our services delivered that way,” he said.

GSA currently has Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 badges that it provides as a service, Page said. However, covering every single item under the EaaS model may be ambitious thinking. But think of the concept as rental furniture: You have a need for a table but you don’t want to necessarily own it, Page said. 

“The concept already is in use but the question is how do we get this into an ability to plug into the IT space,” he said.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Thu, Jul 26, 2012 Peter G. Tuttle, CPCM

The real "beauty" of it is, if you want to buy everything as a service then you don't have to define anything, since you are buying everything. Nothing can be out of scope since you are buying everything. Since the requirements generation process is so broken, maybe this is the solution! The old saying "I don't know what I want but I'll know it if I see it" comes to mind. Yep, I agree with Mr. Page, it's not the acquisition model that's been used for the last 20 years.

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