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Acquisition Overview

The CIC is designed to educate on all aspects of the acquisition lifecycle, including business, technical, and contractual aspects of cloud solutions. Navigating this page, you will find answers to commonly encountered acquisition obstacles, information on funding and contract types for cloud, an explanation of GSA's Market Research as a Service (M-RAS) and a list of cloud acquisition resources and acquisition vehicles.

Acquisition is one of the biggest challenges agencies face when trying to get on the cloud.

Acquisition Billing Diagram

The structures of government — some of which are required by law — often seem incompatible with the quick-moving pace of the private sector. This leads to frustration on the vendor side (as they’d like to move faster) and concern on the contracting side (as they need to make sure they’re following the rules).

Here are some tips to keep in mind as program offices and and contracting officers work together:

  • Knowledge of cloud pricing is no longer restricted to procurement/acquisition professionals Cloud Pricing must be an integral part of the software architecture activity and cloud planning. It is important for the solution architect to understand the cost (visible and hidden) implications of choosing a particular technology, and expressing them as part of the acquisition strategy.
  • Understand the limits Current financial management systems weren’t designed for commercial cloud computing models; in fact, they work directly against the intended business advantages of cloud computing. If progress is slow, it isn’t because contracting officers are being contrary — it’s because they’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
  • Research different acquisition vehicles There are many ways to acquire cloud solutions, so take the time to select the one that's right for you. Reviewing the Acquisition Resources page is a great place to start.
  • Explore GSA's Acquisition Gateway The Acquisition Gateway offers resources and contacts for both contract specialists and IT staff. The tool maintains a library of past and current successful contracts, as well as points of contact to learn more.
  • Share best practices Ask colleagues at other agencies about what has worked for them. There may be templates or guidance they can share. Also, our Procurement Process page can help guide acquisition professionals who are less familiar with contracting for cloud services.
  • Don’t blame contracting staff for other challenges Because cloud migration is complex, it can be tempting to assign all the blame to contracting. But many of the individual steps, like taking inventory or understanding pricing differences between vendors, are less about contracts than they are about the process itself.

Although it can be confusing, government cloud acquisition is definitely possible — agencies across government are acquiring and implementing cloud systems every day. And if you have more questions about cloud acquisition, we can help.