GSA $2.5 Billion Cloud Computing Procurement RFQ: Real Opportunity or a Mirage for SME Vendors

Posted on June 6, 2011

8


The Federal Cloud Computing Initiative is partnering with GSA SmartBuy and the Defense Department’s Enterprise Software initiative for the cloud services contracts. The contracts are reported to be worth an estimated $2.5 billion over five years. Multiple contracts are expected to be awarded.

from May 10th, 2011 Washington Technology article GSA launches $2.5B cloud computing procurement

Let’s play a round of Government Procurement Jeopardy . . .

Answer: Fat and Slim

Question: What is the real opportunity for SME vendors to successfully pursue and win the recently announced GSA $2.5 Billion Cloud Computing RFQ?

Okay, maybe it is not quite Jeopardy . . . after all, Alex Trebek was busy today.  However the end point is still the same in that announcements of large dollar government contract opportunities are often dismissed by the majority of SME’s as an elusive quest that warrants little more than a mumbled chagrin of why bother.

However, if one is to believe that cloud computing and in particular Enterprise-as-a-Service (although I like the Everything-as-a-Service version of the acronym) is as Peter Fingar wrote in an April 2010 article Enterprise-as-a-Service – That’s where BPM Comes in, is a disruptive delivery model that represents an economic versus technological shift, we could be talking about an entirely new playing field that might actually favor qualified SME vendors.

Focusing on what the RFQ refers to as being the five key areas of acquisition interest, which are; mandatory email-as-a-service, migration and integration services; and optional office automation and electronic record management services, that can be provided as  a government community cloud, provider-furnished-equipment private cloud, secret enclave or public cloud, may be an indication that the government has finally eschewed the overarching, monolithic platform mindset of yesteryear that favored the big players.  Or to  put it another way, the government has realized that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

It will of course be interesting to watch this one as the RFQ progresses, to actually see if the apparent glitter of government opportunity is indeed laced with SME gold.  In the meantime, and over the next week, I will be examining the likely vendor candidates for each of the five areas of service focus referenced in the RFQ in an effort to identify the likely winning candidates.  That’s right, a qualified opinion in which I hope I do a better job than I did in picking this year’s Stanley Cup playoff contenders.

30

Posted in: Commentary