Apps.gov – Change and leadership in cloud computing

Vivek Kundra at the White House announced the new Apps.gov web site

Here’s what really impresses me: while so many private sector folks are debating the pros and cons of cloud computing, Kundra just did it. He says they’re starting small, he says it will “take time before we can realize the full potential of cloud computing,” but he voted on cloud computing with all the clout of the federal government.

This means that federal agencies, so often brow-beaten for being as slow as molasses in January (copyright my grandmother), are changing the way they handle the procurement and use of software to save time and money. There will be a learning curve, for sure. The new site features a video to explain cloud computing, and the “store” isn’t completely stocked. But hello, they’re doing it! (Change? Yes we can!)

On the White House blog today, Kundra said:
Apps.gov is an online storefront for federal agencies to quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services, for productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. Cloud computing is the next generation of IT in which data and applications will be housed centrally and accessible anywhere and anytime by a various devices (this is opposed to the current model where applications and most data is housed on individual devices). By consolidating available services, Apps.gov is a one-stop source for cloud services – an innovation that not only can change how IT operates, but also save taxpayer dollars in the process.

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Agreed. Apps.gov is not the beautiful, home-run, all-in-one glory. But it’s a big step and as you said it gets it out. Then it will work and revise and add and grow. Very cool project and glad to see it make progress.

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Profile Photo Denise Hill

I have tried apps.gov. The layout is user friendly and creates the ease of use. Descriptions enable the potential customer to easily identify potential fits.

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Profile Photo Robin Paoli

Denise, thanks for the user feedback. As I’ve explored it, I’ve been struck by the straightforward nature of the interface, the helpful descriptions, etc.

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Profile Photo Henry Brown

GSA Press Release:

Obama Administration Launches GSA Cloud Storefront Apps.gov

GSA’s USA.gov showcased as government using technology smarter, better, and faster

GSA # 10634

September 15, 2009
Contact: Caren Auchman, (202) 501-1232
[email protected]

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration today announced the launch of the General Services Administration’s cloud storefront Apps.gov. This online storefront enhances how the government leverages technology by enabling federal agencies to acquire and purchase cloud computing services in an efficient, effective manner.

“This Administration is committed to providing better value for the American taxpayer,” said federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra. “Apps.gov will help to lower the cost of government operations while driving innovation within government by pooling IT resources across organizational boundaries.”

The new Apps.gov, a one-stop shop to purchase cloud computing services, is part of the government’s push to improve the cost-effectiveness of IT services and sustainability of IT infrastructure. It is one element of a multi-pronged cloud computing program that is addressing not only acquisition, but also related policy, security, training, coordination, architecture and standards

“By offering a centralized storefront for cloud solutions, GSA will help facilitate innovation and efficiency across government while reducing the cost of government operations,” said GSA Chief Information Officer Casey Coleman. “Through Apps.gov, GSA can take on more of the procurement processes upfront, helping agencies to better fulfill their missions by implementing solutions more rapidly. We will also work with industry to ensure cloud-based solutions are secure and compliant thereby reducing duplication of security processes throughout government.”

Cloud computing helps to lower the cost and environmental impact of government operations, create a more secure computing environment, and drive innovation within the government by pooling IT resources across organizational boundaries. IT services and infrastructure are shared by multiple customers, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned in real time according to customer demand (e.g. storage, processing, network throughput, and virtual machines).

Apps.gov categorizes available services by function (CRM, Data Management, Communications, etc.) to make it easier for federal government customers to identify and compare products. Once purchasing decisions are made, agencies have a direct link to GSA’s online shopping and ordering system, GSA Advantage or eBuy, to make their purchase.

In today’s announcement at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Kundra highlighted GSA’s USA.gov as an example of how cloud computing has helped the agency lower cost and increase flexibility to better fulfill their mission of citizen engagement.

“In a traditional IT procurement environment, it would have taken us about six months to upgrade USA.gov to better meet the needs of our citizens. However, in the cloud environment we are now able to do upgrades in one day – giving us greater agility and saving taxpayers approximately $1.7 million annually in computing infrastructure costs associated with USA.gov,” added GSA Associate Administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Communications David McClure.

Apps.gov will also offer free social media and web 2.0 tools such as wikis and blogs to federal agencies.

“Apps.gov’s social media tools and cloud computing initiatives across government will also help to promote innovation across government by providing agencies with easier access to necessary tools that can foster collaboration among their own employees as well as involve citizens in constructive dialogue,” continued McClure.

Currently, federal agencies will be able to locate offerors that have identified themselves as providing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS requires no additional infrastructure and is directly available over the Internet. Soon Apps.gov will also showcase Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

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GSA provides a centralized delivery system of products and services to the federal government, leveraging its enormous buying power to get the best value for taxpayers.

* Founded in 1949, GSA manages more than 11 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars and $24 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 213,000 vehicles.
* GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, as a steward of more than 480 historic properties, and as manager of USA.gov, the official portal to federal government information and services.
* GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and E-Gov travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions.

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