There is no one “cloud” — rather, there are multiple cloud deployment models (i.e., private, public, community, hybrid) and cloud service models (i.e., Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service). Combine that with the ability of the government to use multiple types of contracts (e.g., Fixed Price, Cost Reimbursement,) and multiple options to purchase (e.g., acquisition vehicles, open market), and you’ll find that there’s no shortage in options of getting cloud deployed at your agency. You’ll want to conduct market research — about what cloud solutions meet your agency's mission and which acquisition strategies can get you there.
Determine Your Mission Needs
Your acquisition team is your agency’s procurement experts, and they (along with resources like GSA’s Cloud Team), can help shepherd the process along. But generally speaking, you’ll have to consider the following things before you can successfully procure a cloud solution.
- Do you want to buy cloud services and cloud professional services together or separately? This may help you decide which acquisition strategy to pursue, which acquisition vehicle(s) to use, and what contract type(s) will meet your needs.
- Do you want all cloud services to come from a single Cloud Service Provider (CSP)? While it can seem like an easier choice upfront, getting all your cloud services from one CSP can lead to problems down the line. By procuring cloud services from multiple CSPs, you can help make sure you get the best overall services, capabilities, and flexibilities (e.g., cost, schedule, performance) for your team while avoiding CSP lock-in.
- What will work best for your agency? Finding the right cloud solution is only half the battle — you also need to navigate your own internal processes. Ask your acquisition team what’s worked for them so far, especially if they’ve already bought cloud services or cloud professional services for someone else within the agency.
- Which cloud deployment model(s) do you need and want? Take a look at your security requirements and determine if you can take advantage of a public or government community cloud or if you’ll need to leverage a private cloud for sensitive assets.
- Which cloud service model do you need and want? You’ll first need to see which cloud service(s) meet your requirements. You can then determine if those clouds solutions are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), or a combination thereof.
Develop an Acquisition Strategy
Once you’ve got these questions answered, you can start making decisions about what kind of procurement you want to make. Every agency is different, but if you’re purchasing from GSA, here are the major considerations:
- Which acquisition vehicle will you choose? View a list of them here.
- Will you bundle cloud services with cloud professional services ? It is possible to procure both cloud services and cloud professional services at the same time. Depending on your agency’s needs, this may or may not be necessary. For more, take a look at our sample Cloud Migration Statement of Objectives Template.
- Which type of contract should you use? Just as in the rest of government, there are multiple types of contract: Fixed-Price (FP), Cost Reimbursement (CR), Incentive, Time and Materials (T&M), Labor Hour (LH), and Hybrid thereof. There are advantages and disadvantages to each; for example, FP contracts are simpler but won’t let you underspend, even if you need less resource than you anticipated.
- Will you buy directly or through a cloud commercial service reseller? Some cloud services are directly available while others are available via resellers who can help you access discounted pricing rates.
Leverage our Acquisition Templates
Once you’ve conducted a review of your agencies requirements (e.g., technical, security, business) and conducted market research to determine which cloud deployment model(s) and cloud service model(s) meet your requirements, if you want to bundle cloud services and cloud professional services, and where to solicit your request, you can leverage our cloud-friendly acquisition templates.