Hacking Federal Procurement of Cloud Services

On Thursday, June 26, ASI Government and Amazon Web Services (AWS) facilitated a unique workshop at the AWS Government, Education, and Nonprofits Symposium. The event, Hacking Federal Procurement of Cloud Services, was part of ASI’s latest innovation in social and informal learning, the cloud computing learning path.

The session was attended by over 30 people including representatives from the Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The purpose of the event was to harness the collective intelligence and diverse perspectives of participants from industry & government to create solutions to challenges inherent to acquiring cloud-enabled IT services. Specifically, the hackathon focused on three primary challenges:

  1. Improving understanding of cloud-enabled IT by writing requirements in plain language,
  2. Leveraging the full flexibility of the Federal Acquisition Regulation to devise acquisition strategies that enable agencies to take advantage of cloud benefits, and
  3. Creating evaluation methodologies and service level agreements to maximize the return on investment in cloud-enabled IT.

To facilitate the event, ASI and AWS developed two case studies based on real federal scope statements, the first for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and the second for Desktop-as-a-Service (DTaaS). Two groups worked on each case study, providing an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the diversity in decision-making and possible solutions for acquiring cloud-enabled IT services. Participants were challenged to simplify the scope statements using guidance from FAR Part 11 by rewriting them with plain language, prior to tackling tougher challenges like developing an acquisition strategy and evaluation methodology.

As with all activities on our open learning paths, findings were captured in real time on our Google Drive platform. Our hope is that acquisition professionals will utilize these findings for their own acquisition issues, and contribute their findings back to the open repository as we continue to curate the cloud computing learning path. In this manner, we can work together to preserve, promote, and expand our knowledge of acquiring cloud-enabled IT services while earning Continuous Learning Points for our efforts.

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