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One-stop cloud source launched for US federal agencies

The US government has launched Apps.gov, a dedicated web site for federal agencies to ‘quickly browse and purchase cloud-based IT services for productivity, collaboration and efficiency’, according to a blog entry by Government CIO Vivek Kundra.

19/09/2009

Kundra said the web site will help continue President Obama’s initiative to lower the cost of government operations and in the same time drive innovation within government.

The federal government spends over US$75 billion per year on IT. However, Kundra highlighted that agencies and departments encounter many difficulties in deploying new IT services and products.

“Procurement processes can be confusing and time-consuming,” he wrote. “Security procedures are complex, costly, lengthy and duplicative across agencies. Our policies lag behind new trends, causing unnecessary restrictions on the use of new technology.”

That has resulted in inefficient use of purchased IT capabilities across the federal government; and Kundra is dedicated to addressing these barriers and to improving the way the government leverages IT.

By consolidating available services, Apps.gov is expected to not only change how IT operates, but also to save taxpayer dollars in the process.

The site, run by the Government’s General Service Administration, offers four categories of applications and services: Business Applications, Cloud IT Services, Productivity Applications and Social Media Applications. The simple breakdown is expected to make life easier for users who are not necessarily technical.

Over time, Apps.gov will also provide data storage, web hosting and virtual machines in the cloud.

“Apps.gov is starting small – with the goal of rapidly scaling it up in size,” Kundra wrote. “Along the way, we will need to address various issues related to security, privacy, information management and procurement to expand our cloud computing services.”

As the federal government works through the current concerns and offer more service through Apps.gov, Kundra expects federal agencies to “be able to get the capabilities they need to fulfil their missions at lower cost, faster, and ultimately, in a more sustainable manner”.

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