Procurement

After 3 years, Apps.gov to go dark

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The General Services Administration has announced that all SaaS offerings should go through GSA Advantage starting Dec. 1

Apps.gov is being decommissioned in December, after three years as the online storefront for cloud and software services.

“The IT Schedule Center will no longer evaluate [Software as a Service] offerings or other ‘cloud service’ offerings proposed specifically for Apps.gov,” officials at the site’s host agency, the General Services Administration, announced.

The decommissioning is set for Dec. 1. The website was launched in September, 2009.

GSA said the move is to adjust its services to suit agency needs.

“In an effort to provide streamlined customer service, the U.S. General Services Administration has phased out Apps.gov,” the agency said in a statement Nov. 30. “Simplifying these customer-facing websites is a testament to GSA’s commitment to being responsive to our customers and to promoting effective and efficient government.”

Nevertheless, the IT Schedule 70 contractors will still be able to offer their current SaaS or cloud services through their Schedule 70 contracts. Those contracts will be available through GSA Advantage, the decade-old website for buying products from schedule contracts.

With the closure, the SaaS code process will no longer be valid; GSA told current SaaS vendors to update their GSA Advantage product catalog.

Govroot first reported the GSA email notice Nov. 30. Rumors of the decommissioning have been circulating for some time.

All of the services listed on Apps.gov will still be available on GSA Advantage, and agencies can access free social media applications at www.howto.gov, GSA officials said.

Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners, said the change is more of a logistical consolidation than anything else.

About a year after Apps.gov launched, officials found customers window shopping on Apps.gov.

“When we started out, I was not expecting it to be a research tool, but more of a procurement tool,” Katie Lewin, chief of staff at the Office of the Chief Information Officer at GSA, said at a forum on cloud computing in 2010.

“People are not really buying on Apps.gov. They are using it to check prices,” Lewin said. After checking the prices, the prospective buyers presumably are using that information to help structure their own cloud computing buys, she added.

About the Author

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

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