The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has closed Apps.gov, the once-heralded cloud storefront established in the first months of the Obama Administration by former Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra.
According to Fierce Government, the GSA said in a statement that it has phased out the storefront that it set up for government agencies to discover and purchase cloud services. The federal agency said all of the services will still be available on GSA Advantage, a marketplace for apps and services.
The closure is disappointing, considering what has replaced the Apps.gov site. What’s left is Info.Apps.gov, which is nothing but a static web site that explains cloud computing and contains a few references for those who really dig.
What’s worse is the GSA website, which is where the site has supposedly been moved to. It looks like a government catalog site made in 1998. Finding services is near impossible. I did discover a cloud services link in the sidebar that has links back to Info.Apps.gov. It’s an experience similar to going to the DMV. Now if you somehow figure out how to navigate the GSA site you can find more info. But in all my searches, I only found a few references to vendors such as Salesforce.com, and usually they were linked back to a consulting service. The statement by the GSA also refers people to Howto.gov if they want to learn about social media. But that’s a different thing entirely.
An interesting article talking about the U.S General Services Administration on techcrunch and how they have closed their cloud storefront, it will be interesting to see what this means in the greater scheme of things.
What we have to examine in these kind of scenarios stepping back for a second is the cost of doing business, that is the revenue derived from the store and the empowerment granted to those agencies or ‘customers using it’, put another way could agencies leverage the same benefit or similar benefit from using alternative suppliers, was the range of applications a differentiator from what is already available direct by agencies themselves. We need to use cloud technology, we need to leverage the best most effective and efficient technology where possible to deliver change, business empowerment and service improvement, but we need to do so where it’s appropriate, where the economics and politics makes sense. I’m off to read more.