Salesforce lands $28M GSA-wide cloud contract

Deal marks gains for public cloud by feds

The government’s use of public cloud services got a boost this summer with the General Services Administration decision to sign a $28.1 million enterprise license agreement with Salesforce.com.

The five-year deal covers Salesforce’s customer relationship management modules, Force.com development platform and Chatter collaboration suite and can be used by GSA’s 17,000 employees, GSA and Salesforce officials said.

For Dan Burton, Salesforce’s senior vice president for global public sector, the deal is significant for several reasons, particularly because it is a public cloud license.

“With a public cloud you don’t have to buy infrastructure, you can scale up or down, you can move with speed and you gain energy efficiencies,” he said. “You don’t get those benefits with a private cloud.”

GSA’s decision is a vote of confidence in both the security and value of the public cloud, Burton said.

The Salesforce contract is one of GSA’s three cloud commitments as part of the cloud first strategy, which mandates that agencies should identify and move three applications to cloud computing platforms by the end of 2012, said Casey Coleman, GSA’s CIO.

“It is evidence of the value of cloud computing,” Coleman said. “We believe cloud computing has matured and is a vital option to the federal government.”

GSA’s other cloud initiatives include a contract with Unisys, Google, Acumen Solutions and Tempus Nova to migrate 17,000 e-mail users to Google Apps. That project was completed several months ago, Coleman said. A second project was with Fiberlink for mobility as a service to track laptops, tablets and smart phones.

While Salesforce has been working with GSA for several years and has other government customers as well, this is the first enterprise license in the federal market for Salesforce’s three core products, Burton said.

“This isn’t just one product but the whole suite of products,” he said. “This is quite an accomplishment for us.”

GSA, Salesforce.com and Acumen Solutions have spent the past three months focused on architecture, security and data standards under the agreement to build the foundation to use the platform effectively, Coleman said.

“We are involved in laying the groundwork for an agency-wide rollout,” that will happen incrementally over the next few months, Coleman said.

Part of Acumen’s role is to help develop requirements, determine which are the right applications to develop in the cloud and to help with implementation, said Jay Tansing, managing director of public sector services for Acumen.

The company has been working with GSA on cloud related projects for several years. Some areas of interest with the Salesforce license is improving customer service, modernizing legacy applications and building new applications in the cloud, he said.

“We’ve established a clear track record of success with the cloud first strategy,” Coleman said, referring to the Obama administration’s goal to promote cloud computing.

Additionally, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has placed a priority within GSA on mobility and on the ability of the agency’s workforce to work from anywhere at anytime. GSA’s motto is: Work is what you do; not where you are,” Coleman said.

The migration to Salesforce is also a part of GSA’s efforts to fulfill the Office of Management and Budget’s 25-point IT reform plan to modernize and transform government IT systems by retiring older systems running on outdated technologies, she said.

While GSA has not estimated the cost savings of moving to the Salesforce platform, the savings are expected to be significant, Coleman said. For example, the agency will move applications built in the older collaboration environment based on IBM Lotus Domino and then retire that system, she said.

The GSA project likely will be followed closely by other agencies considering enterprisewide public cloud implementations. “This really is a symbolic shift,” Burton said.

About the Authors

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

Reader Comments

Fri, Oct 21, 2011

Does anyone know if this was a competitive bid process?

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
 Top 100 Slideshow
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts