Cloud

GSA sets cloud hub, plans major acquisition conference

cloud services (jijomathaidesigners/Shutterstock.com) 

The General Services Administration launched a new interactive cloud adoption site that makes resources more convenient for its customers, which is the agency's guiding principle, according to its top official.

On May 16, GSA unveiled its first central repository for everything cloud. The Cloud Information Center (CIC), the agency said in a statement, is a central hub on its acquisition gateway where federal agency customers can find commercial cloud providers and get security, technical and implementation help.

Prospective agency cloud users can access GSA's research-as-a-service tool, read best practices, review acquisition guidance, download templates and collaborate with other agencies through the center.

"Getting agencies to the cloud is a high priority for GSA and we're committed to making sure they have the right tools and support to navigate the complex world of cloud acquisition," GSA Acting Assistant Commissioner of Information Technology Category Bill Zielinski said when announcing the CIC.

The CIC joins a long list of initiatives underway at the agency to transform GSA into an agency that delivers solutions.

There are two dozen initiatives -- including the agency's Inform pilot for post-award debriefings and its eBuy Open GSA pilot to make task orders more transparent -- that support the agency's transformation from a regulation-bound agency rooted in the 1990s to a more agile, transparent, solutions-oriented organization, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a speech at the Coalition for Government Procurement's spring conference on May 16.

The agency, she said, "is re-imagining how agencies buy, how industry sells and how GSA supports procurement across that spectrum."

'Not a return to Expo'

To underscore and explain the importance of all the agency's transformation efforts, Murphy said GSA will bring together procurement experts and federal customers in a large conference. The agency will convene the FAST 2020 (Federal Acquisition Service Training) conference next April 14-16 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Murphy said she expects the expo to draw thousands of attendees from industry and federal agencies.

Murphy said FAST 2020 isn't a replacement for GSA Expo, which was cancelled a few years ago because of flagging attendance and low returns. The agency has been wary of large conferences since the 2010 Western Regions conference in Las Vegas that saw lavish spending by some agency officials and spurred the resignation of GSA chief Martha Johnson.

"Let me be clear," said Murphy, "this is not a return to Expo."

The new conference, she said, "will help us advance federal acquisition by offering comprehensive training led by experts on the latest acquisition trends and GSA's offerings," including the move to consolidate the agency's many schedules and its new tools and processes, she said.

The conference is aimed at consolidating smaller regional conferences into a centralized offering for federal employees that will cut travel costs.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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