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., Firm Fixed Price, Not to Exceed) and multiple ways to purchase (e.g., acquisition vehicles), 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 teams are the 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 technology and cloud professional services together or separately? This may help you decide which acquisition strategy to pursue, which contract vehicle(s) to use, and what contract type(s) will meet your needs.
- Do you want everything to come from one vendor? While it can seem like an easier choice upfront, getting everything from one supplier can lead to problems down the line. By procuring from multiple vendors and joining cloud professional services, you can help make sure you get the best overall services for your team while avoiding vendor lock-in.
- What will work best for your agency? Finding the right technology 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 products or professional services for someone else within the agency.
- Which cloud deployment model do you need and want? Take a look at your security needs and determine if you take advantage of a public, 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 products meet your needs. You can then determine if those solutions are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS).
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 vehicle will you choose? View a list of them here.
- Will you bundle cloud technology with Cloud Professional Services (CPS) (i.e., labor)? It is possible to procure both cloud technology 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 three types of contract: firm-fixed-price (FFP), cost reimbursement, and time and materials (T&M). There are advantages and disadvantages to each; for example, FFP 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 commercial services are directly available on GSA IT Schedule 70, and some 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, workflow) and conducted market research to determine which cloud deployment and commercial service models meet your need, if you want to bundle cloud and Cloud Professional Services, and where to solicit your request, you can leverage our cloud-friendly acquisition templates.