Think Cloud, Think GSA - A GSA Cloud Virtual Event

Think Cloud, Think GSA - A GSA Cloud Virtual Event

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>> Welcome once again. We'll be getting started really soon. Before we do get started with Think Cloud Think GSA Events, my name is Liz Owens and it has been my pleasure to welcome you to our virtual venue, and before we start, I wanted a couple of housekeeping items to let you know. Today's session will be recorded. I believe we may have actually already started recording just now.

We will be sharing those recordings will be shared on demand viewing approximately 30 days after today's event. We've also provided a close caption link in the chat box or we will shortly, and that will be part of the recorded session so you can view that if you need to. Today's event will promote a holistic view of GSA's cloud and cloud-enabled IT portfolio and share how GSA's cloud programs work together to support customer business needs. Time permitting, we will have a question and answer period at the conclusion of each session. Any questions we are unable to get to today, we'll be posting with answers after the event within two weeks. All recordings, slide decks, and further unanswered questions will all be posted at the site as they become available.

For those who attend today, you will receive two CLP credits in a certificate send to the e-mail you registered with, within the next four weeks. Please be sure to use the Q&A box located in the bottom of your screen to supply us with any questions you may have and keep those questions out of the chat as much as possible so we can be sure not to miss them. And now I'll turn it over to our full host, Sam Navarro. >> All right.

Well, let's get this thing started. Looks like based on the responses to our polls today, we have a great mix in the audience today, so hello, everyone. My name is Samuel Navarro. I'll be your host for today.

I'm the Director of the Customer Strategic Solutions Division for the Office of Information Technology Category in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. I would like to introduce our keynote speaker, the Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, Sonny Hashmi. Sonny is a technologist at heart with experience in the public and private sectors, helping drive innovation in the cloud market in particular. From the data center consolidation initiative and Cloud First in Obama era, to the current federal cloud computing strategy of Cloud Smart, he has witnessed first-hand how cloud technology has transformed both industry and government. With that being said, the floor is yours, Sonny.

>> Thank you, Sam. It's a very kind introduction and hello, and welcome to all of you. Some of you are joining us for the East Coast where this afternoon a hot and muggy day in D.C. Others are doing it from the West Coast, but wherever you're coming from, we thank you for spending a little bit of time with us today.

My job today is to share how we at GSA are positioning ourselves to be your best friend in the cloud. As Sam mentioned, I've been in the technology industry most of my career. I had the privilege prior to joining GSA as the FAS Commissioner, I had the privilege of serving the agency as a CIO for GSA for a number of years in the early -- late 2000s and early 2010s, and looking back at those days, I remember how early cloud adoption conversations were happening back then. Back then, cloud was a new thing.

There was no such thing as deploying cloud at scale. Very few agencies were actually experimenting where they were looking at cloud technologies, and frankly the value of cloud was not really understood well at the time. We didn't even have a program called FedRAMP which we rely on every day today with hundreds of vendors and a secure marketplace available to the federal government. At the time, the early days of cloud created this policy called Cloud First and it was an attempt by the federal government to really look at cloud technologies as an emerging option for agencies to think about [inaudible] by modernizing their infrastructure, with a deep focus on cost savings.

While those early wins led to increased adoption and increased momentum of the cloud learning of the federal government, a lot has happened the last 11 years. Not only has the federal government become a much smarter buyer of cloud technologies and with every agency at this point deploying cloud services at various scales and great scales and to great results, but the industry's come a long way as well. Now more than ever before, there is an incredible array of secure, modern cloud platforms available in the marketplace, everything from infrastructure to platforms and software as a service that are designed and ready to go to solve your agency's most critical mission problems. As we look through this journey, we are amazed to see how far the federal government has come. As of 2020 for example, the federal government has spent over $6.5 billion

in buying and deploying cloud services. $3 billion of that spending has been facilitated by GSA very directly, and as an example, you know, we recognize that, you know, like as the cloud market has evolved, the focus for why cloud makes sense to agencies has also drifted from the early days where there was a maniacal focus on cost savings alone, which is an important aspect of modernizing federal technology. The fact is, that in our daily lives, we rely on application platforms, tools, and technologies that are all built on cloud.

They're not just designed to be cost efficient, but allow us as consumers, as citizens, and as people to get access to the services we need when we need them from any device. The value of cloud goes beyond just cost savings. It goes towards building scalable solutions that are designed with user experience in mind to be able to deliver value where it's needed and when it's needed, to be able to scale up and down as demand changes, and to be able to connect together in a secure way to deliver an end-to-end experience much quicker than historically was possible in the federal IT space. We see agencies deploying, delivering and deploying applications within a matter of weeks and months, which was unheard of in the days prior to cloud services, and if you think about the agencies' missions and if you think about your agency's mission, the expectations on the federal government by the U.S. citizens have never been higher. Our citizens demand us to deliver value, deliver benefits, and to deliver services, quickly, securely, and in a way that they can consume in a digital-first manner, and that's where cloud comes in.

I've spent many years both in the government and the private sector and the power and potential of cloud technology has never been greater than it is today, so that leads to the question -- and I'll give you an example. If anything has proven out the value of cloud, it's been this last year and a half. All of us, our agencies, our companies have had to deal with an unprecedented set of events over the last year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From enabling employees to work from home, to engaging with our customers, citizens, and stakeholders in new ways, quickly deploying applications that can modernize decades-old paper-based processes, none of that would have been possible without the cloud, and as an example, GSA worked very closely for example with the Department of Defense to create and deploy a strategy for an end-to-end service called the EOS that allowed the Department of Defense to deploy capabilities that servicemen and women need in their hands every day, to be able to connect together, to collaborate with each other, while making sure that the security of sensitive data is always maintained. And not only that, that allowed the Department of Defense to scale up and down as its needs changed and only pay for what they consume.

These are the models that we are interested in championing even more, but we realize that not every agency is able to deploy the expertise needed to rethink their businesses processes, to reimagine their application stacks, and to deploy cloud technologies securely and quickly, so we want to be your partner in this journey. We have spent a lot of effort over the last many years to build capabilities, shared services, and acquisition solutions that can help you plan for your cloud journey, design the right acquisition strategy, leverage shared buying power and shared services, connecting the dots so that you can deliver value very quickly, and today, you will hear from various parts of GSA who are doing just that. I'm really excited to kick off this event today. I really thank you again for your time and effort today. I want you to bring your questions.

We also want to learn from you. We realize that sometimes working with GSA can be somewhat confusing experience because we do a lot of different things for a lot of different people. We are working very hard to make that experience as streamlined as possible, and over the coming months and years, you will hear more about that as well, but today, we want to share exciting things that we can do for you right now, from helping you plan, helping you acquire, helping you deploy and get the value that you need from cloud solutions across the government and across the industry. In closing, I just want to mention it's -- when I was a CIO at the GSA many years ago, this was a new thing. We had to charter new -- chart new territory that had not been charted before. We had to invent processes, understand how we secure these things, understand how they connect together, help our users and stakeholders learn how to use these products and services and since then, you know, not only the cloud technology's grown, but the comfort and the usability of those products has grown, so don't feel as if you are thinking about a solution, if you're thinking about a problem set, a mission area that you would like to modernize, chances are that those problems have already been solved elsewhere in the federal government.

That's another value that we add. We have the privilege of working with every agency in the federal government. We see first-hand how agencies are deploying these technologies, securing these technologies, overcoming challenges, thinking about deployment models, thinking about change management. So when you work with us, not only do you get the value of the products and services we build for you, but you also get the benefit of expertise that has been gained over years of working across hundreds of organizations in the federal government, so I do hope that we have a chance to work together as we move forward.

I hope that you find value in the sessions today. Please bring your questions, and we'll have the experts to answer them or we will definitely get back to you and answer them after the fact. As we mentioned earlier, the recording will be available as well. I hope you share it with your colleagues and we look forward to working with you. With that, I'm going to had it back to Sam to kick off the agenda.

Thank you, Sam. >> Thank you, Sonny. Cloud is definitely surging. According to Bloomberg, by 2023, federal cloud spending will reach $8.5 billion

with an expected growth rate of 9 to 10% annually, and GSA knows that when we talk about cloud acquisitions, it's about the three Ms, money, mission, and modernization, but you don't achieve quality, speed, and cost effectiveness without a knowledgeable advisor. Our first speaker, Adam Grant, deploys teams of trusted experts to customer agencies. Adam works with Clouds Centers of Excellence under the GSA's Technology Transformation Services and will be talking to us about how the cloud CoE provides agencies with multiple sources of expertise in order to come up with creative, human-centered, and effective cloud solutions. Adam, the floor is yours. >> Thank you very much, Sam. I appreciate that.

So as mentioned, hi, I'm Adam. I'm the Managing Director of Cloud Adoption and Infrastructure Organization Centers of Excellence. I would like to talk to you a little bit about what are the Centers of Excellence, what we do, what makes us special, why you should be working with us and a little bit about how to communicate with us. After my presentation, we will have a few minutes to answer questions. Again, please put your questions into the Q&A button at the bottom of the screen.

We will be joined by a special guest, Jennifer Rostami the Acting Directors of the Centers of Excellence. Next slide, please. So what are the Centers of Excellence? At our core, we are a group of experts from government and industry who are dedicated to bringing in our knowledge, our experience into federal agencies across the government. We help them move forward in their [inaudible] efforts -- apologies -- and providing them with long term enterprise-wide change and evolution. Next slide, please. First let me put the Centers of Excellence in a little bit of context.

The Technology Information Service is part of the Federal Acquisition Service. Our relationship with Federal Acquisition Service gives us direct access to the best acquisition minds in the federal government, the ability to acquire the right solution, the right skills, faster and for better prices. Inside the Technology Information Service are two sections.

On the right side you can see solutions. Solutions are the fantastic people who bring you services like,, You will be hearing from them later on during the day and their services are phenomenal, are a big part of our offering. On the client and market sides, there are three elements. AT&F, our sister agency, is a team of dedicated engineers who specializes in developing and deploying solution to enable capabilities in other federal agencies across government. The Presidential Innovation Fellows work long term, usually with agency leadership, provides guidance and advocacy, and working on -- I apologize -- and working on strategical efforts.

And then get to us, the Centers of Excellence. We tend to work with agencies and our goal tends to be helping agencies develop new capabilities and evolve change across the organization. Next slide, please.

So we were started in 2017 and our goal is to bring in talent from both the private sector and the public sector to help agencies on their modernization journey by establishing best practices and -- I am so sorry. As you can tell, I'm a little nervous and I promise you, I will get on the boat fairly shortly. We're structured around six centers, the best center, my center, the Cloud Adoption Infrastructure Organization Center deals with technology modernization in its raw form across the government. The data analytics and artificial intelligence centers help agencies develop data policy and implement AI technologies to support their missions.

Our contact center, Centers of Excellence, help with the specific missions around interaction between the federal government and the public. All of our efforts are guided by our customers [inaudible] Centers of Excellence. They are our guiding light in every effort that we implement. Next slide, please.

All of our work is supported by two additional practice areas. First one is our acquisition practice. Acquisition practice offers two services.

First and foremost, they assist us as we acquire industry partners to implement specific solutions. They have developed our own specific acquisition vehicles and they facilitate our accelerated acquisition services. On the other side, they also provide advisory capacity. They will be implemented with us into the agency and support the agencies in improving and implementing their own acquisition methodologies, teaching both [inaudible] acquisition methods and exposing the acquisition centers to new and useful vehicles that will help accelerate IT modernization.

Our -- on the right side, you can see the our newly announced innovation of doctor's practice. The initial docking practice is responsible to helping us move away from implementing a solution and taking that solution across to throughout the entire agency to help create lasting change. They offer change advocation network, product management adoption, and coaching services to the agency and to the leadership as a continual work. Next slide, please.

We have worked -- we are currently working with 10 agencies across government. We have done work that starts with the initial introduction of cloud services, setting up innovation labs across multiple agencies, [inaudible] them with cloud [inaudible] services and making those available as federated software to service, infrastructure to service, and platform to service across the agency. We have helped agencies move petabytes of data out of their basement and into the cloud to making it available to the public as a whole. We have worked with agencies to modernize legacy -- and when I say legacy, I mean 40 year old legacy infrastructure -- modernizing the application they are supporting mission critical system and moving them to the cloud, and we've worked with other agencies like the joint AI center of the DoD to implement DevSecOp pipelines allowing the JAG to offer AI services across the Department of Defense. Next slide, please.

Our approach is broken into three steps. Initially in our staging step, in the staging phase, we will work with the agency to identify their current modernization goals, identify short-term, immediate project that can be implemented to start moving us in a direction, and identify the long-term IT modernization goals that we can start pushing across. Our second phase is our discovery phase.

At this point, we are -- our team is embedded usually the CIO or CTO level. We will work with your leadership, start diving deep into your current state, understanding the source of your challenges, and building the roadmap to a future state of with that, a future state supporting new solutions. Third step is our implementation phase at which point we will probably be bringing in some industry partners to work with us and start working on delivering both the solutions that were developed and the organizational change around it. Next phase, please -- slide, please. I apologize. Okay. So our teams are uniquely structured.

We bring in our own experts. These are people who have had 15, 20 years of experience in the specific area that we work. Our team will be embedded with your CIO shop and start working on building a plan. Together with them, we tend to bring industry partners. After we've identified the goal, we go and we acquire with you specific solutions or specific skills as needed to meet your goal. The third element of our teams, and this is I think where our magic sauce is, the champions and detailees.

We will find our champions across your organization and bring them in to support our effort, but beyond that, we have a unique meet the elite program where you can pick members of your own teams, select them to come and be detailed into our group. They will work with us, providing us with insight and domain knowledge into your organization, at the same time, learning from our team and integrating our approach into their work. The goal is, at the end our engagement -- our engagement can be anywhere between three months to two years.

At the end of that process, when we leave you, you will be left with a qualified, trained team that has already implemented innovating projects across your agency, and they can continue doing that long after we have moved on. Next slide, please. Data information [inaudible] factor.

I've had the pleasure of working with seven agencies over the two years. Everywhere where we have been successful, this trifecta was at the core of our success. We work with your technology team.

We suggest new technological solution to meet mission needs. That is the easy part, as much as any of this is easy. Like everything else in government, everything has to be delivered in a secure, compliant fashion.

To bring your [inaudible] team, bring your security team into the process making them partners, you have to keep in mind that they're simultaneously enablers of IT modernization but also they're beneficiaries of it. We work with the team, implement new tooling, implement new methodologies to help your security team focus on higher level work, the result of which is that their cycles become shorter and our ability to innovate to each layer of these new and exciting solutions becomes infinitely faster. At the third leg of this trifecta are your [inaudible], your acquisition team, your CFO teams. Like everything else in government, everything is an acquisition action, so if you want to bring in a new team, if you want to bring in a new technology, your acquisition shop can -- beyond being an enabler, is again, also a beneficiary.

We work with your acquisition team. We work with them to change the way they work. We provide them with new tooling so that they can become partners of the innovation process. As part of our engagement, we will do our best to create an engine of change in the core of your organization built out of these three members and together we can generate a tool that will keep serving your agency continuously.

Next slide, please. So [inaudible] work with us. First and foremost, we're experienced. We bring in -- I did the math a couple months ago. We had more than 530 years of experience across our entire team. We are focused on our areas of expertise and if we're touching something we don't know, we are very good at reaching out to the industry and bringing them in with us.

As mentioned, the fact that we have our acquisition practice makes us very efficient at creating a holistic solution meets your specific needs. We are human centered. What does that mean? Between our [inaudible] and customer experience team [inaudible] adoption practice, everything that we do starts and ends with your customers. The return on investment to working with us is direct improvement to the quality of life of your consumer, whether your consumer is internal or external, they are our focus. We are result driven. Our goal, and this is the primary [inaudible] been working with us and working directly with the contractor.

Our goal is to leave as soon as possible. We come in. We generate the capability. We help your organization grow and then we leave. Our success from us is an agency that has evolved reach its goal and is capable of continuing to implement innovation without us. Next slide, please.

So before we jump in to the Q&A section, please feel free to e-mail us in Our website is and our Twitter is GSACoE. With that, I'd like to move on to the next slide in our Q&A section. One second. So our first question is how does the United States Digital Service fit into the GSA CoE? That is a very, very good question. USDS is a separate organization.

They work from the OMB and they are by definition, I believe, referred to as firefighters. They are there to solve emergency issues as they come up and they support agencies in their organization effort with specific goals. We have worked with USDS in several agencies including USDA, including OPM and they are fantastic, but their approach and their goals are slightly different than ours. Second question, I'm not sure I understand the question.

Can you connect for us the CoE about specific agency needs solution-wise? You can definitely always contact our team and we'll be more than happy to identify this, to answer specific questions for you. Also again, is always available. How can our agency move all of our photos and documents into the cloud? Oh, wow. Okay. So knowledge management and [inaudible] management in the cloud, this is a problem that we've dealt with multiple times in several agencies.

When you're doing documentation transfer, and again, I don't -- there's details here such as are you working on moving digital documents to the cloud that are currently sitting on a [inaudible] hosted server versus are you asking how to digitize paper, which is again, a thing that we've done before, but is a very different project. The short answer is, first build your capacity for cloud management, which we will help you do. One of the thing that we do is we build internal cloud centers of excellence, so cloud operation centers, so that the agency is capable of handling that kind of cloud work, and then we build a migration program, either by working with a tool that can do scanning and digitizing or by doing slow, controlled data transfers. Next question, can a federal department enterprise organization extend to states, for example fed-state agreements? So TTS in general, works both with state and with federal agencies. We and AT&F together are currently working on a migration with the state of Wisconsin and there are several other engagement that are ongoing or starting to be implemented with other states, so that's a yes. Good. It's a yes or no question.

I like yes or no questions. Unfortunately I can't get into specified details about specific engagements right now. As GSA industry partners, how can we build GSA cloud offerings into offers designed presented with [inaudible] response? In short, how can industry help GSA? Okay. So I can answer the question of how can industry help GSA from the CoE perspective. Whenever the CoE is engaged with an agency, we will go out to the street and issue multiple RFIs.

Those RFIs are essential to our work when it comes to identifying industry best practices, identifying the right solutions, and identifying the current existing players in the ecosystem of the specific solution we're looking for. The -- on the GSA perspective I think I will let somebody from the wider GSA can respond to that [inaudible] later. What is the cost for your service? Oof, okay. So the way CoEs work is by engaging other agencies over interagency agreements. Our cost per service will depends entirely on the size of the team and the type of effort that is being implemented, and if you have specific questions, please reach out to us over and we'd love to give you specific answers. [inaudible] doesn't directly buy cloud services from anybody else [inaudible] Microsoft without contractor in the middle.

That is a fun question. So I cannot answer about specific vendors, but there are direct cloud suppliers, CSPs on schedule 70 right now. You're going to be hearing from Skip from ITC, the IT category of schedule 70, a little bit later today and he can dive into how to acquire cloud services over schedule 70 both directly and via intermediaries.

Will record management be a service provided by the cloud or is it solution that [inaudible] to implement in the cloud? So record managements are is a what I would refer to as a tertiary service, by which I mean, there are multiple vendors providing record management as a service, most of which can either deal with storage that is local or on the cloud. The correct solution for you specifically, from a security perspective and price perspective is something that CoEs would be more than happy to come in and help you solve. >> Okay, so I think we have time for one last question, and as Adam stated, apologize for the folks we couldn't get to but please feel free to circle back with us offline and we'd love to touch base. So Adam, you have to select here, you know, out of the last ones left, which ones you -- which one you can answer here soon and then we'll jump on to the agenda. >> I am going to take the final question. We have had agencies that moved from 0% to 15% and that's the large -- so the question, metrics in how much of your partner agencies have migrated into the cloud since partnering with you, for example, [inaudible] has moved from 80% to the cloud to -- so from [inaudible] 50% on [inaudible].

So we've -- a lot of our work has been on the 0% on the cloud to the 50% on the cloud, the initial introduction. The way this usually works is we work with agencies to build the capacity, generate the abilities to manage services on the cloud and do the initial couple of migrations, pick specific application, on a specific need, and do the migration to the cloud. From there on in, you start a slow, iterative process of modernizing each piece of technology, each mission, and moving it to the cloud as is appropriate. I hope that answered your question. Thank you all very much.

I apologize for the slow start. Thank you, Sam. >> No worries, thank you very much, Adam, for explaining the value add of the Centers of Excellence team, and of course, a lot to cover in so short amount of time, and I want to thank the audience.

Keep your questions coming, but of course, we got a timeframe here we're trying to commit to so we're definitely going to keep things moving along. We'll follow up with the answers to those questions, even post-event we definitely encourage you guys to follow up with us. So next, we have Skip Jentsch, a veteran of the cloud computing space at a former CIO of a micro-agency. He will be talking about how the information technology category makes your cloud acquisitions easier, and the pre-competed solutions the MAS IT Cloud SIN can offer.

So Skip, the room is yours. >> Thank you, Sam. Can you hear me and see me okay? >> We can hear you, loud and clear. I think you may have some video issues from my own -- there we can see you, so you're good to go.

>> Good, thank you. Thank you, Sam and good afternoon, everybody. Good morning to you out West.

My name is Skip Jentsch and I have a confession to make. I am not wearing shoes. So I've been the lead for the Multiple Award Schedule Cloud SIN 518210 Charlie for since its inception years ago working in this space for about seven years helping agencies figure out how to buy cloud off of schedule 70, well, schedule 70 now consolidated with all the rest of the schedules, including the ones for office supplies and paperclips and guard doggie blankets, and everything else, so now it's the Multiple Award Schedule and the subset of the Multiple Award Schedule that contains only cloud offerings, is the special item number 518210 Charlie.

Moving on to the next slide, slide 18. So the IT cloud acquisition team is -- well, I am a member of. We offer these no-charge consulting services to those agencies that wish to take advantage of them. Number one out of the gate is the market research as a service service.

This is the service where an agency simply fills out a short questionnaire and gives it to GSA. GSA then publishes an RFI on that agency's behalf and then receives and logs and collates and reports back to that agency all of the responses. You can see how this is a great labor-saving device. I'll show you a screenshot of that in just a moment. Secondly, we are the curators, as I mentioned, of the GSA MAS cloud SIN 518210 Charlie which contains not only cloud products, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, infrastructure as a service, platform and software as a service, as well as the cloud-focused human labor hours to go with them. So it's kind of miniature Alliant in a self-service platform venue kind of a thing.

Next, we offer cloud acquisition strategy guidance. I'll show you a slide with the major pain points of that drive Contracting Officers and Contract Specialists crazy when it comes to cloud. Next, we offer free scope reviews of your requirements documents, whether it's a SOO, SOW, or what have you. We are also the curators of the cloud, GSA cloud information center or CIC at cic.gsa@gov. That's a screenshot on the right-hand side of the most searched page on that website, which is the page where you can download sample cloud requirement templates and copy and paste them into your own as you desire. That's our -- that's the most popular thing on the CIC site.

Moving to the next slide, which is slide 19, as promised, this is a screenshot of a sample MRAS report, that market research as a service, an example of what comes back to you after you submit that short questionnaire to GSA and they publish that RFI for you. I believe this is the most successful program of all of our free services. It is a great labor-saving device. It allows you to check that box and it actually delivers useful information. On this page for example, you get the recommended contract vehicle that the vendors you polled have recommended, what their industry codes are, small, medium, or large, and their socioeconomic status as well, where there's pages and pages and pages of this kind of very useful information. You can also -- and this is what I stress with an MRAS report -- you can also design a bank of yes/no questions that really drill down into your requirements and compel industry to answer them on a yes/no basis, and those are all tallied for you in this MRAS report.

Moving to the next slide, which is slide 20, let's talk a little bit more about the GSA cloud SIN, the special item number under the GSA IT schedule 70 which has morphed, consolidated rather, into the MAS award schedule, GSA schedule known as the largest federal contract ever, for good reason. It's a self-service platform where you can get -- you can drill into the subset of this very large contract. The cloud SIN contains just cloud offerings, 425 some at last count, from 240-some vendors. The criteria for a vendor offering to get onto the cloud SIN is that it meets the NIST academic definition of cloud. That's the main bar, and this graph shows the number of RFIs, RFQs that have been issued against the SIN for years and years and years by quarter, so it -- quarter over quarter -- it's a little hard to see with this graph, but quarter over quarter, you can see steady growth. The multi colors in the graph indicate -- well, the light color part of the bar, each bar, indicates the proportion of solicitations that were made with the cloud SIN alone, whereas the dark portion of the bar indicates the proportion of the cloud SIN that was solicited alongside of multiple SINs, perhaps the professional services SIN, perhaps the software SIN, perhaps the e-commerce SIN, to try to capture -- to throw a wider net for the products and services that the agency is looking for, and we consult with agencies on whether to use the cloud SIN alone or multiple SINs in tandem.

Moving to the next slide, slide 21, here's some more benefits of using GSA's schedule in general, and of course, the cloud special item number specifically, and that is that small business set asides are simple to execute in GSA schedule. Eighty-five percent of all schedule contract holders are small businesses. Well, this is misleading because it's very difficult for agencies to get their cloud from as a small business set aside, and the reason is this. Many times, a cloud vendor will offer their products through resellers. The resellers tend to be small.

So well, that's good, but the cloud vendors, the cloud service providers or CSPs, the quote-unquote manufacturers, they tend to be large. The problem comes when the Small Business Administration classifies cloud as a service and not a product, you cannot invoke the nonmanufacturing rule blahty, blahty, blahty, lawyer this, lawyer that. Bottom line is it's very difficult to execute a cloud buy as a small business set aside. We can consult with you on the rare exceptions to that but by and large, it's very, very difficult to classify a cloud buy as a small business set aside. GSA's schedule ordering falls under a FAR subpart 8.4 directly. That's good.

It provides great cover for agencies wishing to skip some steps compared to an open market buy. It checks several boxes for you buy using the GSA schedule. The contractors are pre-vetted on all kinds of levels, vetting that the agency does not have to do. There are pre-negotiated ceiling prices that can be further discounted. You do not have to take the ceiling price that is presented on GSA's schedule.

Well, that's a good thing in this market where cloud prices generally continue to fall, so no price adjustment, no this, that, and the other thing. It's whatever the price is at the time. It's a wonderful thing that these cloud prices continue to fall. The schedule allows for firm fixed price, time, materials, labor hour, contract types. This is good, because it helps with that royal pain that contracting officers and contract specialists run into when it comes to cloud. What do you do with an item that gets billed at -- rather, gets charged at 10 cents a minute, $25 a day, 10 cents an hour? It fits a time and materials model but some agencies are not allowed to use time and materials model contracts for anything, let alone cloud, so they might want a firm fixed price with a not-to-exceed CLIN, blahty, blahty, blahty.

This is part of an hour-long discussion that we would have with you, an agency, looking to solve questions regarding acquisition and cloud. And last but not least, we have a lot of agencies asking now for BPAs against schedule -- the MAS award schedule generally and the cloud SIN in particular, because you know, when you're new, who knows how much of a variance is going to be in your cloud expenditure budget? You're new to cloud. You have an idea of how much it's going to cost. You ran out with a IGCE and you have funds obligated, but who knows when that natural disaster affects FEMA or what have you, some seasonal thing or some surprise comes down the road? Cloud is flexible.

Is your contract flexible? So what agencies like to do, they've been asking over and over, is establish a BPA, a single award with a reseller who sells more than one CSP would put all your eggs in one basket. That would be a good thing, one contract action to achieve all of that cloud. That would be terrific. It can be used over and over like any other BPA as funding appears, funding trickles in, as projects trickle in. That's why agencies who have already done a cloud contract are coming back to GSA and asking about a single award BPA for those reasons.

Let's move to the next slide, slide 22. Now here's a bunch of bullet points that I expect no one to remember. What I expect is that you'll know when these questions come up who to call, and that would be the cloud team here at GSA. You'll see the contact information in just a slide or two. These are the kind of things we see, hurdles that contracting folks have to get over in order to buy cloud. They often -- we're seeing from agencies more and more brand name justifications, not sole source justifications.

The difference is you want to tag the manufacturer, not the reseller. You want to be able to get that Ford so to speak, that Ford truck from any dealer at all, not from one specific dealer, so it's not a sole source. It would be a brand name justification.

We see this more and more because agencies now have built up experience with cloud. They don't want to migrate from one cloud service provider to another over 2 cents a minute savings that because that would cost the government a great deal of time and treasure to move from one -- move applications from one CSP to another, so they come to us asking about brand name justifications. We talk about contract types to fit pay-as-you-go cloud charges.

I mentioned cloud can come as 10 cents a minute, $20 an hour, $50 a day, $100 a month, and so it's like a utility bill. It can go up and down every single month, just like a water bill or electricity bill, or anything else. What is the contract type that would best fit that? Sounds like a time and materials model. There's a whole discussion on time and materials model contracts, how you can have your cake and eat it too by letting a firm fixed price with a not-to-exceed, etc. This is the kind of consulting that we do, again, at no charge. How to deal with the FedRAMP question, I don't have time today but I've got a seven-minute FedRAMP lesson that would teach any contract person everything they need to know about FedRAMP in seven minutes.

Next, how to acquire cloud as a small business set aside. Maybe we should insert the word not acquire cloud as a small business set aside for reasons I mentioned earlier. And last but not least, that good old single award BPA is the holy grail of cloud acquisition, I believe, getting that reseller that sells more than one CSP so that you only have to execute one contract action and a contract action, it's not even a contract action. It's an acquisition action, since it's not a contract, a BPA, that can be used over and over with its own funding for each and every TO that comes along. Next slide, please.

It's number 23. Once again, we offer a free no-cost review of your requirements. It doesn't matter what kind of requirements they are. We usually recommend a SOO for reasons I would explain if we were going on for an hour today.

These are at no cost, and I'll tell you, we have never found a requirements document that we did not add value to, either in change in direction, change in scope, or possibly small changes in wording that had a big effect on the acquisition using tracked changes in a word processing document. I haven't seen us not add value yet. Next slide is slide 24.

Here's a screenshot again of the This is important for you to remember to write down, because if you forget the contact information that I'm going to show, you'll have to worry about spelling my last name and such, but if you have this address, you can always contact the cloud team using one of the menu bars, or down at the bottom, we have the general email address. So this is the real go-to, and besides, it contains that most searched thing, those SOO templates that are tailored to cloud that you can download and copy and paste into your own at your heart's delight. Here's the promised POC information and my personal e-mail address. There's the general e-mail address.

If I hit the lottery, move to the islands, you can always get somebody at the cloud team at My contact information is there, and we can move to questions. What do we have, Ben? >> All right, Skip. Thanks for that information. First question comes to you from Jane. It's an MRAS question.

She wants to know if the RFI that goes out to everyone with the NAICS code, does that -- does the RFI that goes out to everyone for free market research go to everyone with a NAICS code that has a MAS schedule? >> Well, the target audience is much wider than that, Jane. In fact, when you work with an MRAS specialist, you can actually help them tailor the audience and it's actually quite good. The MRAS, industry stands up and salutes.

There's a very high response rate and the reason is industry knows that anybody who engages the MRAS people are deadly serious about running an acquisition. It's not a fishing expedition. The closing rate to from an MRAS to making an award continues to be very high, in the 60% range, so you're going to get better responses from industry using the MRAS. >> Great, thanks. Next question coming to you from Connie. Is the cloud SIN mainly for cloud product offers such as Microsoft, AWS, etc.,

or is it also for IT consulting firms that support the cloud implementation? >> Well, the good answer is that it's both, so there's plenty of cloud products like infrastructure, platform, e-mail as a service. They're all there and well represented, actually. Lots of resellers for all the major CSPs are present and have been present for years and years, and that was a good thing because when the schedule consolida -- a little history, when the consolidation happened, each and every one of those vendors had to voluntarily and unilaterally execute a contract mod to get their offerings over to the cloud SIN, so that was an effort. For the labor hours, yes, you can get both.

In fact, there are many more labor cloud-focused labor hour offerings on the cloud SIN than there are resellers of cloud itself, so you can get both. There are good reasons to separate the two, you know? What happens when a requirements -- when a labor engagement goes wrong? You'd still be on the hook with that vendor that you now have bad blood with for the cloud itself, so there's a good reason to split the two, but you can get both in one acquisition or two acquisitions through the cloud SIN. >> A related question while we're talking about the cloud SIN, does it include SaaS providers or just the cloud native services? >> Well, that's a good question.

Many of the SaaS pro -- well, most of the SaaS providers on the cloud SIN are either e-mail as a service providers. All the big names are there. Or cloud-focused applications like applications that would monitor your cloud environment, that kind of thing. Depending on the application, and here's where our consulting will help you, depending on the application, you may want to focus directly on the cloud SIN or you may want to widen that net to include not only the cloud SIN but the software SIN as well.

Now that opens you up to thousands and thousands of vendors, but the MRAS people will field all those responses anyway, but it opens up the field so you'll get many, many, many more nonsense responses, frankly, but it also widens the net to include unique applications that have not yet migrated to the cloud SIN, so the answer is for e-mail as a service, most likely. For a cloud-focused monitoring applications, probably. Other applications, maybe not so much.

Depends on a case-by-case basis. We can help with that. >> Great. Scott wants to cut directly to the chase here. He has a question about how have -- how often have agencies bought directly from the vendor, the manufacturer, and are there significant monies saved? >> Well, you know, since cloud was invented, everyone wants to cut to the chase.

They all want to deal direct with the cloud service provider. After all, there's more responsiveness. There's a chance for savings, although you know, those resellers get quite a bulk discount from the CSPs. You might get a better price from the reseller than you do from the CSP, because they're buying in bulk discount to begin with, so you have to run that MRAS. You have to run a competition to make sure you're getting the very best prices that you can. Now the CSPs on their part have been very shy about going direct.

They don't like the -- they like the legal distance between them and the customer for all kinds of legal reasons. Now Amazon is one of the rare large vendors who is on a GSA schedule, but they don't bid every time on everything. They like to pick and choose, so again, our consulting can help with this. It's still mostly done through resellers today. >> Fantastic.

Last question for you, Skip, coming from Robin. If government can buy cloud services via the MAS using the cloud SIN, why is there also a desire at GSA to create a new enterprise-wide cloud BPA? >> Well, it's a good question. There are additional benefits to creating a new governmentwide BPA. Many times actually, when people call us, contact us for a consulting engagement over cloud, first thing they ask is where is there a governmentwide vehicle where I can just issue a task order? That's what they want. They don't want to run a competition against GSA's schedule. They don't want to do open market.

They don't want to go through all through all that rigamarole. They want to cut to the chase, as Scott said, and issue a task order, so one of the big benefits, if the GSA were to be able to issue a single award BPA, that dream would be realized. On the other hand, as everyone knows, the single award BPA is very difficult to put in place. How much -- look how much money it would be. It would be a protest magnet. The protest period would be extensive.

Look at the -- you only have to look at the news reports to hear about cloud vehicles that have failed to be put in place because of, you know, because of red tape or complications that a single award BPA can bring. On the other hand, look at DEOS. DEOS, the DoD stood this up.

It got a single award. It's a single award BPA and guess what? It's partially based on the MAS cloud SIN, so they had a lot easier time to set that up, so there are -- look at that. There are success stories. So the answer is if they were able to stand up a GSA cloud BPA as a single award, that dream of a single task order, just issue a task order, would be realized.

Even as multiple award BPA with a couple of vendors would reduce the competition pool quite a bit and still would make it easier, and also GSA is considering adding a couple of extra requirements on top of what the SIN already requires. The SIN is very broad about -- and those requirements would focus on security, supply chain risk, all kinds of other things, but the main dream is to, I would think, would be a single award or very few multiple awardees on a governmentwide cloud BPA. >> All right.

Thank you very much, Skip, for your presentation on this schedule, and Ben, thanks for stepping in and facilitating the questions. For everyone's edification, Skip's team also hosts a quarterly public webinar on cloud acquisition, so let's keep this conversation going even after this event, but for now, I'm going to let you guys take a quick break, a quick five-minute break, so we'll see you guys back around -- I have 2:01 -- 2:06 to 2:07, and you can have a choice of getting your extra cup of coffee or putting your shoes on in Skip's scenario. So we'll see you guys back in five minutes. Thank you everyone for attending. [ Music ] [ Silence ] Okay. Looks like we're at 2:06, climbing on to 2:07, so welcome back, everyone.

Hope everyone had a great break. Next we have three experts from here to discuss platform as a service solution and the best -- and the benefits it provides to agencies.

I'll pass it to Kara to introduce herself and her team. So Kara, take it away. >> Hi. Thank you, Sam, and thank you to everyone for including in this event.

We are excited to be here. So my name is Kara Reinsel. I'm the Product Manager for and I'm joined today by two of my colleagues, Andrew Burnes and Carlo Costino. They are both platform engineers with and we are we here today. We're going to talk to you about both of our products, and Pages

and the services that we provide to agencies all across the federal government. Next slide, please. So in terms of, you know, what we do at, itself is comprised of two products. The first one is platform which is a platform as a service and it is built on top of Amazon Web Services.

It is a secure compliant FedRAMP moderate environment where government agencies are able to deploy your applications and better support and serve their missions and the American people. They can focus on supporting their missions and deploying applications, while we at provide them with a safe and secure infrastructure. Our second product is pages which some of you might already be familiar with because it's known as Federalist currently, but it's undergoing a name change, and what pages allows is for government agencies to quickly and securely establish a web presence by using a static site generator built from code repositories.

One of the things that Pages also includes is the ability to have custom domains, and we know that that's a big need for a lot of government agencies. So if you need to quickly establish a web presence, and certainly this past year, we've seen quite a bit of that, then Pages can be a really great solution. The last thing to note about both and Pages is that the services can be procured through an interagency agreement, an IAA, rather than a traditional procurement process. The nice thing about an IAA is that it could take really just a matter of weeks versus what could be months with a traditional procurement which can be long, arduous, require a lot of resources to bring to completion. So with an IAA, it's fairly quick and you can be up and running with our services very, very quickly, and so with that, I'm going to hand it over to my team to take you through more of our platform and products.

>> All right. Thank you, Kara. Next slide, please. So I'm Carlo Costino.

I'm one of the platform operators on and now that you've just heard like a brief introduction of what and Pages are, we'll walk through some of the benefits, some of the key benefits that we offer here.

As you may be aware, infrastructure configuration, management, security compliance requirements, these all add significant time and cost to product delivery, especially if you're trying to deploy a modern digital service. manages these responsibilities so that you can focus on supporting your mission. So here are just a few of the benefits we offer to help make it easier to deploy a website or application in government. We have full or partial coverage of 155 NIST 800-53 controls that can be inherited, support for multiple language stacks so applications written in Python, Ruby, Go, php, Java, even .NET Core with build paths and folks can leverage Docker as well,

so if you containerize your application, that's another way of deploying your application in You have access to several key cloud services for your data and asset storage needs, in addition to custom domains, and the custom domains also have support for tying in with a content delivery network, a CDN, and fully managed and automated static site generation with Pages. And finally, we also offer free sandbox accounts that grant you full access to all platform services for anyone with a federal e-mail address or military e-mail address. Next slide, please.

So diving into a few more of our primary service offerings here, we cover a wide breadth of needs and use cases that most websites and applications depend on when operating in the cloud. So here on the -- starting on the left here, asset and data management or data storage, by providing access to AWS RDS, S3 ElastiCache and Elasticsearch services. We also have automation of SSL certificate provisioning and renewal with Let's Encrypt and again, that's paired with CloudFront, AWS CloudFront to add content delivery network support if needed. Our application management is done with Cloud Foundry itself as the primary technology behind the platform of, and along with again that build path support for multiple language stacks, so a variety of different applications can run on there.

And again, Docker and Let's Encrypt, you know, for that SSL certificate, so your sites are always secure and running with HTTPS and finally on the static site side with pages, these are done via cloud repositories hosted in GitHub which are then managed in automated bill process to S3 buckets for the hosting and leverages CloudFront for static asset management to provide fast and stable user experiences. Now I'm going to turn things over to Andrew who is going to walk us through the platform or how the platform and Pages can fit in any part of a customer's dream. >> Thanks, Carlo.

All right. So we've seen -- [ Silence ] -- but here's just kind of one example of how our customers actually can slowly migrate to using cloud to get up into the cloud quickly. So say you've got a business process that's [inaudible] that you have had maybe a long time in legacy information, but you need to get that you and distributed folks, either through a website or an API. The main you do is really build an opinionated plat -- to easily and quickly -- can't hear me? Hello? Can you hear me? >> Andrew, you're breaking up. >> Test? >> Andrew, can you hear us? You're breaking up. >> Of course.

>> [inaudible] Can you hear me? >> He's breaking [inaudible]. >> No. Andrew, we can't hear you. >> Let me try to switch this up here. [ Silence ] >> Okay, everyone. As Kara just alluded to, we're having some technical difficulties. I hope you're enjoying the event thus far.

I think what we will do is if Liz, if you can cue the music. Just give us a minute here and we'll try to see if we can get Andrew right back on. So everyone, just give us a minute. I'm at 2:15. Let's see if we could just jump this -- start this thing again, 2:17 for us to just see if we could get Andrew back up and running for you guys here to conclude the session.

Give us minute, please. [ Silence ] [ Music ] [ Silence ] >> You ready to stop the music, Sam, or are we keep going? >> Yeah. Let's stop it. Let's see, Andrew, are you back in with us? >> Oh, apologies for that. Not able to quite get him back in but I'll take over and work through here.

Thank you, everybody for bearing with us and thank you, Sam. All right. So as Andrew was about to dive in here, adapting to customer needs, at the very beginning here, you know, as we noted, this platform or Pages will fit anywhere in a customer's cloud journey, and so for example, you're starting out with an existing on-premise solution and you want to move that to a cloud or to the cloud, excuse me.

We'll start by assessing needs and capabilities and what makes the most sense to move on the cloud. Doing this wholesale right up from the start and trying to move everything all at once, rarely goes well, if at all, and so you want to find and identify the pieces that make sense to move it first and kind of do this in an iterative fashion. Next slide, please.

So in the second step here, using what's known as an encasement strategy, customers begin migrating either applications or components of their applications to the platform while retaining their existing service. So again, it's that iterative process here. This provides the ability to develop, to test, and to deploy repeatedly in an agile fashion to start moving over applications or components, and the platform is well suited to this because it doesn't take much to get something up and running on there, and once you do, it's very easy to go through and test quickly and see whether or not things are working appropriately, if services are wired up correctly, and then, you know, connect that to existing services so that you still retain that functionality that customers are expecting from your site. Next slide, please.

And so wrapping up here, at the end of the migration, either most or all of the applications or components are moved over. If there is anything that's still required to be on premise or outside of the platform, that can continue to exist as it is.

Your sites can still connect to those external services without any issue and used, again, retain that functionality but with everything else that has been moved over, you're now leveraging a modern and FedRAMPed environment and able to leverage all the new cloud services. So this encasement strategy that we just kind of walked through, this process is exactly how the Federal Election Commission was able to modernize its digital presence and service offerings to the public, and it continues to leverage the platform today. And this allows customers to accomplish things such as building out APIs to back their sites, application programming interfaces, hosting dynamic applications, authenticating users, storing data and information, again using these modern cloud technologies in a secure and complaint environment. Next slide, please.

So here, just a some of our existing customers. I just touched on the Federal Election Commission. They've been a long-time partner of ours, and in fact, all three of us, Kara, Andrew, and myself had partnered with them previously in AT&F and helping them modernize their digital services and the website that you see there in the top left. They -- the Deputy Commissioner Wei Luo has spoken highly of the experience and has referenced over time how this has saved them a lot of money in terms of the traditional hosting they had in data centers, over $1 million annually saved that they'd been able to reinvest elsewhere and in other cloud technologies for some of their other services that they continue to develop and add features to their site.

The Environmental Protection Agency with, that's in the top right there. They had been leveraging for I think a little over a year now and so if you recall last year, and I suppose this year, unfortunately, the wildfires have been a very difficult thing to manage and this site in the past has struggled to keep up with the demand for it, but they've been running on and at one point during 2020 during the height of the season, the wildfire season, it was the most visited site in the federal government according to the digital analytics program, and it had maintained stability throughout every step of the way. A couple more sites here,

This is a vendor-supported site. The vendor themselves actually had reached out to us directly asking about our platform because they were looking for a place to develop and host this new application for the Office of People Analytics and so we coordinated with them and explained how gaining access to works, which I'm going to touch on in just a little bit but they were able to partner, you know, with a -- work with the DoD, work with the Office of People Analytics and work with us, and now have access and have launched this site to support their mission within the DoD, and that last one on the bottom right there, that's the Department of Justice, the civil rights reporting tool. This recently launched I guess -- well, toward the end of 2020, but they -- this I think was one of their first forays into a cloud-hosted environment and to dynamic application and the launch of this had gone smoothly and was kind of featured just in time around the elections, I believe, if I have my timing correct and so received a lot of traffic initially right off the bat, and they've been operating very successfully so far. All right. Next slide, please.

Thank you. So we've covered some of the benefits of and the services that we offer, as well as how existing customers have leveraged the platform and partnered with us, so here's some additional paid features and support that we offer as well. For customers that require a large amount of additional storage above one terabyte, we offer additional paid options. I'm going to get to this just a little bit later, jump on ahead for a moment. The -- when you gain access to the platform, there is a base level of storage and services that are just a part of the access, the general access, but for folks who require very large storage or have very large storage needs, we do offer other paid options there.

We also offer our seven nodes for the ElastiCache and Elasticsearch services for customers out of the box, and additional nodes can be purchased for the use cases that require them. We also offer additional paid support packages. So again, the access fee to the program provides platform-level support out of the box, and you'll communicate actually with Andrew and I as it is this week, but you'll communicate with the team directly if there are any questions regarding the platform or any issues, account login issues or resets, things of that nature, that we just generally provide, but if anybody, any customer requires additional support or would like more dedicated support, we do offer additional support packages and then this way you gain access

2021-08-03 18:03

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