MA

SD-WAN May Get a Boost from OMB’s TIC Policy and GSA’s EIS Acquisition Plans

Published: October 02, 2019

Cloud ComputingCybersecuritySoftware-Defined Infrastructure

Separate developments on both fronts have the potential to bolster opportunities for software-defined networking solutions.

One aspect of the federal IT market environment that keeps us engaged is the complexity that we observe and the constant level of change that we seek to anticipate. Often, concurrent developments in multiple areas that are not directly connected may open up some market possibilities upon reflection.

After looking at the potential cloud computing market implications of latest federal Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) initiative policy update from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) I was asked the following question by someone in the market space: Will GWAC updates that the GSA will make resulting from new TIC use-cases and new technologies being added to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contracts together present an on-boarding opportunity for software-defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) services providers on EIS?

That’s an interesting question.

EIS has been the home of a lot of government-wide IT modernization conversations and plans, including efforts to consolidate federal networks and leverage Managed Trusted Internet Protocol (MTIP) services. Still, I am not sure I would draw any direct connections between OMB’s TIC updates and potential new cloud Use Cases and what GSA is doing with EIS with respect to emerging technologies and/or new contracts.

SD-WAN is often viewed as a cloud enabler for sure. So OMB’s opening the door wider to cloud services that meet TIC requirements seems to naturally open up potential for SD-WAN, regardless of the contract vehicle.

As far as EIS on-boarding is concerned . . . As far as I am aware, the current EIS prime contract holders have the ability now to engage solutions providers as they need to provide specified services under the contract, so there’s no formal on-boarding needed or stipulated in EIS. Primes already have the flexibility they need.

OMB’s TIC policy update directs GSA to update GWACs “as appropriate” to accommodate newly approved TIC use cases within 6 months of the Use Case approval. So the evolution of the TIC initiative will have an impact on government-wide acquisition vehicles. However, OMB did not specify any particular GWACs to be updated, so we might assume that they have some flexibility here and would pass that flexibility on to agencies, each of which has their own acquisition strategy preferences. But if a particular GWAC already accommodates the new Use Case then no update would be needed.

In August, GSA said they plan to extend the current EIS Local Service Agreement (LSA) contracts through May 2023 in order to allow agencies more time to incorporate IT modernization plans and efforts into the next round of EIS contracts. Those agency plans could include Cloud and SD-WAN to meet secure connectivity requirements (i.e. TIC). And OMB’s previous statements about improving federal cybersecurity through modernization, shared services and cloud are all part of the mix. Therefore, it’s conceivable that we could see some significant cloud spending going through EIS once the dust settles. (Stay up-to-date with what’s going on with EIS by monitoring our GovWin IQ EIS opportunity record.)

Implications

While it is difficult to predict that anything is a sure bet in the federal IT contracting landscape it does seem that the simultaneous expansion of cloud-related TIC Use Cases that is anticipated from the TIC policy update, combined with anticipated changes to EIS (i.e. adding SD-WAN as a cloud enabler, etc.), will open up opportunities for SD-WAN solutions providers on whatever contracts agencies will use for their cloud services. This could include prime contract awardees as well as niche’ players that could partner with a prime to provide the desired technology solution.