Everything-as-a-Service future solution for GSA

Federal agencies and private industry alike have been turning to Software-, Infrastructure- and Platform-as-a-Service to meet their specific computer needs for years, but the General Services Administration (GSA) is looking to take it a step further. According to Federal Computer Week, an agency plan will move government cloud computing to the next level, with nearly everything available on an as-a-Service basis.

The idea initially emerged internally at the Department of Transportation as a way to streamline acquisitions for the IT department. For the GSA, the Everything-as-a-Service model will be a way to help with infrastucture optimization by getting exactly what is needed and nothing more. It's a bold take on buying models that have been in place at government agencies for a long time.

"[EaaS is] certainly not the way we've looked at our acquisition model over the past 20 years," GSA deputy assistant commissioner of integrated technology services Kevin Page, told FCW at a conference. "We're grappling with some of the complexities."

Changing tide

Going with an EaaS model is one of the newest and innovative ways to take advantage of the scalability of cloud computing. It can streamline the buying of services and solutions in a way that wasn't possible before the cloud, at least for IT tools. Page compared it to rental furniture in many cases, where something is needed but ownership would be inefficient.

"You pay by the sip, and then you're done with it and the relationship is over," Page told FCW, talking about the cost efficiency benefits of EaaS. "We want to have more of our services delivered that way."

By turning to as-a-Service solutions, agencies can cut down on the lengthy and binding contracts and projects that tend to lock up large portions of government funds. While many of those long-term relationships do yield gains for the government, others can appear outdated in their aims just months after beginning. There is little such risk with EaaS.

GSA awards

Contract awards are already an issue for the GSA as the procurement agency for the federal government. More diversity in the awarding of contracts is one way that that the agency is looking to handle issues, looking to turn to similar tactics with a demand-based model to improve the cost efficiency of its Multiple Award Schedules program.

"It's not a silver bullet," Houston Taylor of the Office of Acquisition Management told FCW. "It won't fix everything, but it will allow us to start focusing and concentrating on the customer."

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