The newly created Apps.Gov portal is already attracting considerable interest from companies providing SaaS applications. The most recent of these is DocuVantage, who has just signed up to the portal to offer its SaaS document management software to government departments.
However, it may be misleading to suggest that the Florida-based company simply ‘signed-up’. To get on the list of approved services, companies have to get themselves onto the GSA’s Schedule 70, the list of long-term government-wide contractors providing all kinds of services to government departments.
And that’s not exactly easy. However, DocuVantage has been approved and will now offer its OnDemand application which provides document capture, imaging, archiving, rules-based workflow, collaboration and records management compliance..
Government In The Cloud
The Apps.Gov initiative was launched in the middle of September as part of a federal drive to upgrade government IT services without putting too great a strain on American taxpayers’ pockets.
Apparently, no less a person than the President himself is behind this initiative, which in the words of Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO), Vivek Kundra, will provide “ an online storefront for federal agencies to quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services, for productivity, collaboration, and efficiency.”
At this point it is impossible to count how many companies are involved, or how many different applications are available, but the data management category alone has 77 different applications already.
The data management category is only one category in an extensive list of business applications, which in turn is only one of four wider categories listed on the website. The other categories include productivity applications, cloud IT services and social media applications. And this, according to Kundra, speaking at the launch, is only a small version of what is envisaged.
The Taxpayer And IT
Behind all the razzmatazz of the launch is the need to optimize what the government is getting for its US $75 billion annual budget for IT.
While there is no suggestion of cutbacks in this budget, what Kundra says the government is looking for is better services, easier access and ultimately quicker deployment of services that, he says, more often than not get mired in endless bureaucracy.
“Our policies lag behind new trends, causing unnecessary restrictions on the use of new technology. Past practices too often resulted in inefficient use of purchased IT capabilities across the federal government,” he said at the launch.
Who’s For The Cloud?
It is still early days to judge how exactly cloud vendors are going to react to this initiative, but with the size of that great big billion dollar cash pot, it probably won’t be too hard to guess.
Already Salesforce.com has gone through the Schedule 70 process and is now an approved vendor on Apps.Gov. Google is also reported to be developing services for the government cloud to be launched next year, and what’s the bet Microsoft’s Office in the cloud will also be looking for a slice of the action.
So, this is where DocuVantage is now taking its OnDemand application. It was already positioned to go on Apps.Gov as previously it had been awarded contracts by the GSA for the State of Florida, and Hillsborough County, also in Florida.
While in Federal terms, this is, as Kundra said, only a small project so far, it has the potential to grow very quickly. Watch this space.