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4 Ways the Cloud Will Improve Federal Award Management

Businesses are moving important systems to the cloud to realize economic and technology benefits. The Integrated Award Environment (IAE) is a prime example of where the federal government is moving systems to the cloud. The ten award management applications that will comprise the future IAE unified environment are especially suited for the cloud because the application will service a large and diverse user community inside and outside the government.

 

Here are four ways the cloud will improve federal award management:

  1. Improve Technology Infrastructure

The infrastructure and network supporting large scale applications can be expensive to maintain and upgrade. When the IAE made the decision to move to the public cloud, we were able to tap into the existing technology infrastructure and operational expertise of a cloud provider that handles maintenance, security, and upgrades.
 

According to the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, federal programs moving to the cloud can experience improved asset utilization of greater than 60-70 percent. The IAE will see productivity improvements in the following areas:

  • Application development

  • Application management

  • Network management

  • End user

The cloud also enables the IAE to manage near-instantaneous increases and reductions in capacity so we can be more responsive to federal award management community needs.

Moving IAE to the cloud offers is giving the IAE platform a presence in multiple data centers across the United States. This additional presence speeds up user access and application performance to business critical applications they need when pursuing their next contract or grant application.

2. Consumerize Award Management Application Access

The consumerization of IT is a popular trend where popular consumer technologies are finding their way into business applications. Moving the ten award management application that will eventually comprise the IAE means that users will be able to access the applications from their web browser of choice just like they would access popular consumer web applications on their home PC.

3. Open Award Management Data for other Applications

Cloud platforms bring with them the potential of application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable third-party developers to tap into data residing on the platform. The ten federal award management applications being consolidated into the IAE platform hold a wealth of award management data of benefit to the award management community at large. Current and future IAE APIs will enable developers from the federal award community to tap into data for their use whether it’s a new third party application, reporting tool, or a range of other use cases for this data.

4. Shift into becoming an Innovative Service Provider

Adopting cloud technologies is one of the ways the IAE is becoming an innovative service provider. We are shifting the focus of our development and operations teams from asset ownership to service management.

The cloud also means that the award management community can grow to expect the same innovation they receive from commercial cloud applications that they use to manage the backend of their business.

The cloud along with agile development and DevOps encourages entrepreneurial culture behind the scenes at the IAE. You can see the start of this entrepreneurism in how our User Experience (UX) team seeks feedback from the award management community that can be rolled into future platform updates.

The IAE can also evolve and change with emerging technologies that the award management community may adopt in the future.

Another part of becoming an innovative service provider is that we are providing more stable services and more rapidly, by design.

Target: Cost Avoidance for Award Management

All of these improvements add up to cost avoidance for federal award management as the IAE gets out of the infrastructure business, consumerizes the award management application process, and opens award management data to a range of new applications and innovation that was next to impossible under the federal IT models of old.

 

How do you see the cloud improving federal award management? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 
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Comments

david.morrill
<p>While I understand and agree that there is a potential for cost savings to the Government and the Tax Payer, the government must consider the risk of having such data on servers that it does not fully control and transmitted via network infrastructure that, again, may not be under the government&#39;s control.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The Government has a duty to protect Personally Indentifable information as well as contractor&#39;s business sensitive data and other information that could be used to harm the Government and the tax payers.&nbsp; Risks include:</p><p>1)&nbsp; Transmission of such data&nbsp;unencrypted or not encrypted with a strong encryption protocall/program</p><p>2)&nbsp;&nbsp;Storing the data on an unencrypted basis on the cloud servers, or not encrypted with a strong encryption protocall/program.</p><p>3)&nbsp; Loss or theft of servers or backup media, especially if the data is not encrypted with a strong protocall/program</p><p>4)&nbsp; Lack of redudant and geograhically dispursed servers, so that disasters are unlikely to take down key infrastructure</p><p>5)&nbsp; Failure of a vital contractor or thier infrastructure to properly maintain the cloud server.</p><p>6)&nbsp;&nbsp;The cost of the increasing processing power to encrypt data to be transmitted may lead to higher commputer requirements, increasing the costs</p><p>All of these issues can, of course, be resolved but it is incumbant upon the Government to consider the risk and clearly state how it shall mitigate it.&nbsp; Especially in light of the OPM breach.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
kengoldman
<p><span style="color: rgb(38, 50, 56); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 16px;">The concerns you&#39;ve raised are valid and certainly have been considered by the government. We&#39;re relying on&nbsp;appropriate FedRAMP solutions plus GSA security policies and procedures to ensure that&nbsp;the public&#39;s data is safely encrypted both in transit and at rest.</span></p>
The IAE environment is designed to transition multiple, stove-piped applications into an integrated workforce tool set for awards management across... More

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