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1/27/2011
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NASA Employs RightNow Cloud For Support Center

The space agency has put its Shared Services Center online to cut costs associated with handling inquiries via a call center.

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NASA has moved its citizen-support center to the cloud to cut costs by reducing call-center inquiries. NASA is now using the RightNow Technologies' Secure Government Cloud to run its NASA Shared Services Center, a public/private partnership with Computer Sciences Corp. that provides financial management, human resources, IT and procurement services to the space agency, according to RightNow.

The NSSC contact center last year on average received 7,000 monthly calls, and RightNow CX -- a suite of customer-experience applications -- now will be fielding those, the cloud infrastructure provider said. People can use the self-service application on the NSSC Web site to help find online answers to questions for which they would otherwise use a call-center attendant.

RightNow's cloud has achieved compliance with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) security standard for IT products and solutions deployed in the federal government.

However, it has not yet achieved the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) authorization, a special security designation for cloud-computing services the government has adopted. The company is currently working to do so, according to a RightNow spokeswoman.

The federal government recently adopted a "cloud-first" policy for new IT implementations, and NASA has been one of the most cloud-friendly agencies to date. The agency has been cloud-vendor agnostic so far, working with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft as well as RightNow to move applications out of the data center.

NASA has even developed its own cloud infrastructure, Nebula, which it's using in-house to replace local computing resources. U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra has suggested that other federal agencies in the future also will use Nebula.

The federal government has been a customer of RightNow for the past 10 years, and the company is currently working with 170 agencies.

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