The government officially stood up an interagency working group Thursday to develop best practices guidance aimed at helping agencies and departments move with greater speed and confidence to adopt cloud computing services.

According to multiple sources involved in the effort, dozens of representatives from Cabinet-level agencies and sub-agencies held an initial meeting Thursday of the Federal Cloud Center of Excellence at General Services Administration (GSA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. The meeting, chaired by senior tech leaders from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and GSA, included representatives from the departments of Veterans Affairs, State, Agriculture, and Transportation, as well as NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Defense Information Systems Agency, among others.

“The goal is to finally help other departments and agencies who haven’t adopted cloud services ‘get over the hurdles’—to include contracting, value propositions to their leadership, helping their IT staff embrace the change, security, and interoperability,” a member of the panel told MeriTalk.

The source spoke to MeriTalk on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly.

“The outcome will be a living document with the ‘best of’ guidance in these areas for other agencies to follow,” the source said. “I’m hoping we end up with GSA finally offering a la carte cloud services that [departments and agencies] can pay for by the seat with no need to negotiate a new contract individually.”

The effort began several weeks ago when Richard Blake, a senior technologist at GSA’s Enterprise Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (Gwac) Center in San Diego, and Bill Zielinski, GSA’s deputy assistant commissioner for Category Management, asked the FCC to co-chair the meeting.

Sources close to the initiative said the next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 2 at GSA headquarters. Membership is currently restricted to government participants, but a source close to the effort said industry members are invited to give presentations.

Attendees have been asked to prepare information for sharing with the group, including:

  • Their definition of what the Federal Cloud Center of Excellence is. “We will harmonize these into one definition,” a source involved in the meeting said.
  • Their value proposition of why a department secretary or agency leader should care about the Federal Cloud Center of Excellence activities and moving their agency to cloud services.
  • Their best examples of how to drive IT and organizational changes to adopt cloud services successfully.

These subjects and more will be addressed Feb. 8 at the Rayburn House Office Building at a Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group Hillversation. Hear from Federal and state agencies on their cloud strategies and how government can navigate the journey to the cloud. Click here for more information.

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