GSA is moving to cloud computing
The federal General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a $6.7 million, five-year contract to Blue Bell, Pa.-based Unisys Corp. to provide secure cloud-based e-mail and IT collaboration tools. Unisys will provide transition, data migration, training and cloud-based software as a service for the new environment. As a result of the deal, GSA employees will be able to collaborate and work remotely from any location at any time.
The award will provide up to 17,000 GSA employees and contractors worldwide with enhanced collaboration services, including e-mail with expanded storage and access to Google Apps collaboration tools. The cloud-based software includes Google Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites.
In cloud computing, shared servers provide resources, software and data to computers and other devices on demand. Federal agency staffers can access and use applications through a web browser as if it were a program installed locally on their own computer. GSA is the first federal agency to move e-mail to a cloud-based system agency-wide.
The GSA agreement with Unisys was awarded under the Alliant Government-wide Acquisition Contract. Unisys will partner with Google, Tempus Nova and Acumen Solutions to complete the contract.
The agreement aims to boost workplace efficiencies and lower costs by 50 percent over the next five years when compared to current staff, infrastructure and contract support costs, said GSA officials. "Cloud computing has a demonstrated track record of cost savings and efficiencies," said Casey Coleman, GSA's chief information officer. "With this award, GSA employees will have a modern, robust e-mail and collaboration platform that better supports our mission and our mobile workforce, and costs half as much."
GSA's move to cloud-based e-mail and collaboration tools is part of a government-wide effort to use more agile, lightweight technology such as cloud computing, and to rely on shared services to limit the need for expensive, redundant infrastructure. "GSA's cloud e-mail award is in step with the administration's 'cloud first' strategy and demonstrates that agile, secure, reliable and cost-effective cloud options exist to rapidly improve agency operations and services," said Dave McClure, GSA associate administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.
GSA is responsible for buying products and services that make up about 11 percent of the federal government's total procurement dollars. The agency manages 9,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 210,000 vehicles in the federal fleet. It also preserves historic federal properties.