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GSA developing cloud-based email contract

NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.

The General Services Administration is planning a civilian version of the $8.2 billion cloud contract for email and collaboration services it is managing for the Department of Defense.

Alan Thomas, commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, said that the coming Civilian Enterprise Office Solution (CEOS) is still in the "early stages" of development. The vehicle will look to leverage similar cloud efficiencies for email and other applications for federal agencies.

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Thomas said the idea came directly from plans for the Defense Enterprise Office Solution contract. DEOS was launched by the Defense Information Systems Agency.

That acquisition, envisioned as an office systems counterpart to the warfighting cloud program Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, is being conducted under GSA's Schedule 70.

"The federal CIOs offices said, 'Hey, we ought to do something similar for civilian,'" Thomas said in a keynote at the BMC Exchange event in Washington D.C. on May 7. [FCW, Washington Technology sibling publication, was the media partner for this event.]

"CEOS won't be a carbon copy of DEOS," Thomas told FCW in an interview after his presentation. "You're not going to get every agency in the federal government on one email system, but we could do some standardization and create some efficiencies there."

"We're early. I haven't mapped it out yet," he said. "Obviously, it won't be on the same timeline as DEOS."

GSA released the final solicitation for DEOS in late April. With that contract, DISA plans to move some 3.1 million end users to a cloud-based environment that will be used for both classified and unclassified communications.

DEOS will be a single-award contract, under which DISA will buy email, content management, file storage, productivity tools, web conferencing, instant messaging, native audio and video and mobility through a commercial cloud model.

"The trend" with DEOS, Thomas said, "is for true enterprise standardization."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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