Navigating Cloud Choices in Government

Information technology approaches in the public sector are changing fast. Cloud computing is driving much of that change. More enterprise applications are going to the cloud. But because they must continue to operate legacy applications, agencies are creating hybrid infrastructures consisting of their own data centers, shared tenancy clouds, and – depending on the application and data involved – government-specific clouds.

These efforts have multiple goals: lowering operations and maintenance costs, having faster access to the latest technology, assuring service levels and improving cybersecurity. However, hybrid also brings challenges, including greater complexity, more service level agreements to juggle, and more demand for both physical and logical security.

Federal News Radio convened a panel of experts to discuss these issues and offer strategies for taking advantage of the cloud. The panel featured:

  • Bill Zielinski, deputy assistant commissioner for category management in the Office of Information Technology at the Federal Acquisition Service of the General Services Administration
  • Todd Simpson, chief information officer at the Food and Drug Administration
  • Dave McOmber, executive vice president for public sector and federal at QTS.

Panelists agreed that the government is growing more sophisticated in how it approaches cloud. The GSA’s FedRAMP process for certifying cloud vendors has matured while also expanding the roster of suppliers. Agencies themselves are developing processes for sorting data, applications and activities (such as software development) according to where they are best hosted.

For example, Simpson explained FDA has developed an in-house cloud broker panel and a cloud advisory board. But once requirements are known, agency program and contracting people must take special care to ensure service level agreements negotiated with cloud providers serve everyone’s interests.



Federal Drive host Tom Temin

Tom Temin, Federal News Radio

Tom Temin has been the host of the Federal Drive since 2006. Tom has been reporting on and providing insight to technology markets for more than 30 years.  Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Tom was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines. Tom also contributes a regular column on government information technology.



Bill Zielinski, Director of Office of Strategic Programs, General Services Administration

Bill Zielinski is the Director of the Office of Strategic Programs (OSP) within the Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS) in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and an IT Category Executive. The Federal Acquisition Service provides buying platforms and acquisition services to Federal, State and Local governments for a broad range of items from office supplies to motor vehicles to information technology and telecommunications products and services. As an organization within FAS, ITS provides access to a wide range of commercial and custom IT products, services and solutions.

The OSP centralizes oversight of strategic government-wide IT programs.  It is responsible for responding to Executive Orders, OMB Directives, and federal agencies’ customer needs.  The office develops and defines optimum solutions, including acquisition vehicles and managed services, to best meet agencies’ needs to obtain best value and cost effectiveness. Mr. Zielinski oversees all of the OSP program offices including: the Software Center of Excellence (SmartBuy), HSPD-12 (USAccess Program), Cybersecurity Services, the Cloud Program Management Office and ITS’ Center for GWAC Programs including Alliant, Alliant Small Business, 8(a) Stars II, and VETS.


Todd Simpson, Chief Information Officer, Food and Drug Administration

Mr. Simpson is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Washington, DC. In this role, Mr. Simpson is responsible for providing information technology services and support to approximately 20,000 federal personnel and contractors that comprise the FDA community throughout the continental United States and internationally.

Mr. Simpson has more than 24 years of information technology (IT) leadership and management experience from the private sector and in the federal government. He has managed at the executive level in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development and operational efficiency. Mr. Simpson is experienced in improving business processes, and managing complex, multi-disciplinary and time sensitive projects while achieving cost savings.


David McOmber, Executive Vice President of Public Sector and Federal, QTS

David (Dave) McOmber is an energetic, creative and entrepreneurial sales executive that joined QTS in July of 2016. Dave’s entire career has focused on serving customers in the Public Sector industry. He currently leads all of QTS’ sales efforts within the Federal and Public Sector markets.  Dave is responsible for the overall strategy, execution and sales management to these organizations and the missions that they serve.   With the goals of collaboration and mutual success, Dave focuses on bringing all that QTS has to offer in the areas of Cloud, Data Center & Hybrid Computing.