There has been much confusion about PaaS in that many vendors call their offerings PaaS, but they can be very different in their approach. We are looking at PaaS through the lens of building enterprise and mission applications for the federal government. Some of the key distinguishing characteristics of a PaaS offering we look at closely are how well integrated their offering is and how easily you can build applications by focusing on your specific business logic and leveraging sophisticated software to handle things like case management, analytics, and collaboration. Some PaaS offerings allow you to provision many different combinations of software layers. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are examples of this. Others, like Salesforce.com’s Force.com platform provides one pre-integrated service that puts emphasis on pre-built functionality and easy of building new applications, where you focus on your business logic.
The Federal Government is adopting new approaches to IT at a historic pace. The long-standing trust in the large software and services vendors is vanishing rapidly under the realization that the Government was oversold licenses they didn’t need or use, and is now being burdened by massive operations and maintenance costs for armies of resources running stacks of hardware and software. This is leaving almost no funds for true modernization and has driven an upsurge in interest and guidance on new approaches to IT. Two areas that are gaining significant traction are PaaS and Open Source Software. Which is the right answer to solving these longstanding problems? In this FAQ I tackle the biggest issues: Cost and Security.
As the Federal IT community embraces FITARA and the modernization of Federal IT, the GSA moved to support Agencies by establishing a groundbreaking contract for Salesforce related services. Six awardees, including Phase One, were named by GSA to the $503M Salesforce Implementation, Integration, and Support Services (SIISS) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). This multiple-award, government-wide BPA consolidates the government’s Salesforce technical development, operations and maintenance, and implementation strategy requirements into one procurement vehicle.
The state of Federal IT is untenable...just ask Tony Scott, Federal CIO. Agencies are drowning in the unbelievably high percentage of their budgets that go to just keeping the IT lights on. This category of "operations and maintenance" or "O&M" is projected to be over 77% of the overall Federal IT budget. In seven major Federal Agencies, this O&M number is over 90% of their respective IT budgets. In many instances, these applications are aging, high risk, riddled with security vulnerabilities, and don't adequately support the Agency's missions. How can Agencies deliver better IT solutions for their missions, when they can barely afford their legacy solutions?
Phase One is excited to announce that we have reached Gold Level Salesforce Consulting Partner Status. This catapults Phase One into a small handful of companies with this status and similar expertise in the federal sector. This achievement is the direct result of everyone’s hard work across the firm, and we would like to thank everyone involved. With this new status, we are even more prepared to bring platform as a service (PaaS) solutions to our current (and new!) customers. Phase One has been investing in our capabilities with PaaS for several years—most recently with Salesforce—and it’s great to see these investments pay off.
According to Thomas Charuhas, Chief Solutions Officer, “Our focus has been on using the power of the Salesforce platform to modernize real mission-execution areas for our federal customers, and this Gold Level certification is a natural extension of that. Reaching Gold shows our partners that Phase One has a unique mix of management consulting and technical expertise to provide full-lifecycle solutions."
In our long history as trusted advisors to federal executives at over 40 agencies, we have been asked many questions pertaining to new technology products and trends. It is no secret that we are advocating platform as a service (PaaS) as a future for modernizing legacy applications and achieving significant return on investments. We are helping our clients move to a new era of much lower O&M costs, rapid solution delivery time, and improved user experience. Salesforce is an industry leader in the PaaS world, and we are wholeheartedly advocating for and implementing Salesforce solutions.
However, the PaaS world can seem like a radical departure from the traditional, legacy way of building and running systems and has raised questions that we have seen time and again by our federal IT executive clients wanting to embrace the new world while avoiding any potential pitfalls.
Here are some of the questions that are frequently asked around the Salesforce.com platform pertaining to customer data stored in the Salesforce cloud.
For decades, software developers have struggled with the most efficient and effective means of managing software teams to deploy software that meets defined user requirements. In 2001, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published.
Unfortunately, in many circles Agile was used to justify a lack of planning. In these companies, Agencies, and industries; there has been an explosion of individual projects with little strategy and planning driving the integration of the many pieces to achieve the big picture goals. In short, the intent behind Agile has been misinterpreted, and organizations are paying the price.
The reality is that the authors of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development were not against planning. They were just against plans that never got used. In fact, they just wanted to focus more on the outcomes than the process ... makes sense!