Government Shutdown Delays $10B Department Of Interior Cloud Project


While the federal government shutdown has affected federal workers and agencies, major IT projects like the $10 billion Department of the Interior (DOI) cloud migration project are in limbo.

The DOI is one of many essential government agencies that have been closed this week in addition to the shutting down of federal parks, monuments and other public spaces across the country.

Recently the DOI has chosen 10 different IT companies to compete for a massive $10 billion cloud-computing project. The "indefinite deliver, indefinite quantity" (IDIQ) contract will allow vendors to dispense an assortment of services including cloud storage, secure file transfer, database hosting, Web hosting, developing and testing, and virtual machine services throughout a 10-year period.

[Related: The Government Shutdown: 8 Things VARS Need To Know]

Competing vendors include IBM, Verizon, AT&T, Aquilent, Autonomic Resources, CGI, Global Technology Resources, Lockheed Martin, Smartronix and Unisys.

Although the massive 10-year deal is important, it is unclear at this point whether the 10 vendors are suspending work or continuing to work on the cloud migration while the DOI is closed.

While seven of the 10 companies were unable to be reached, Verizon and GTRI declined to comment on behalf of its government customer.

According to Ted Davies, president of Unisys Federal Systems, the company is engaged in diminishing the effect of the government shutdown. Presently, the employees of Unisys are continuing to work in support of the government's requests, said Davies.

"Unisys Federal Systems is focused on minimizing the impact of the shutdown on our government clients and our people," said Davies. "To that end, we are taking all possible steps to support our teams in the field who work on behalf of our federal customers."

Unisys is currently taking direction from its federal government customers in terms of the level of support that Unisys will provide during the shutdown on a contract-by-contract basis, said Davies.

Due to the failure in reaching a compromise on government funding, the doors of the government will remain shut indefinitely, and current projects are expected to slow down. While some federal employees are out of commission for the time being, some are still continuing to work without pay.

As a result of the shutdown, many solution providers are shying away from working with the government because of its unstable ground. According to Steve Halligan, COO of n2Grate Government Technology Solutions, solution providers will see the effect of the shutdown, and the Greenbelt, Md.-based company has remained apprehensive. Halligan said his employees are picking up the work that government employees are prohibited from doing for the time being.

"We're definitely nervous. We're on a handful of government contracts. Fortunately, we haven't lost billable work based on unfunded contracts, but we know this can only last so long," said Halligan. "We're hoping and praying some of the legislative logjam will be fixed in short order. The reality, too, is that every day that this continues, the government will be two days behind."

While federal employees are not on the job, the shutdown also impacts new bookings or new contract signings imperative to n2Grate's business, Halligan said.

PUBLISHED Oct. 3, 2013

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