wrap up the series I started in May concerning Three
Approaches to National Cloud Strategy. Today’s
topic: buying cloud services using a Government
Procurement Framework. As with the other two approaches I’ve discussed—Government-Sponsored
National Clouds and Governments
as Service Provider—I’ll cover what it is, why governments choose it, and
how they implement it. Hopefully this series will provide a foundation that
informs your own cloud journey.
What it is
Procurement Framework allows governments to purchase and deploy a cloud
solution quickly. Governments that use this approach are mainly in large,
developed markets. They create a cloud procurement framework in which they
precertify a large number of cloud vendors, enabling their IT directors and
agency CIOs to purchase services fast—without going to public tender. Less than
10 percent of national governments use this approach.
Why choose it
two reasons that large governments go down this path:
FASTER COST SAVINGS. By streamlining
the procurement process for its agencies, these governments can speed up public
cloud services adoption. This helps them accelerate the shift from capital
expenses (building and maintaining data centers) to operational expenses
(paying only for the computing they need)—so they can reap the cost savings
sooner. See how the Mexican internal revenue service deployed
its solution—and started cutting costs—in just four months.
STRATEGIC PRIORITIES. Getting a cloud deployed quickly
frees up money, technology, and time for strategic initiatives. Many
governments are still running mainframes and using old server technologies that
date back to the 20th century. This infrastructure is incredibly
expensive to maintain and restricts the ability to innovate.
How to implement it
To create a
national cloud in this way, governments must have several things in place:
PROCUREMENT AGENCY. Because these are large governments, they’ve likely centralized
their procurement agency already. What’s left is to define the cloud services
they need, create the certification framework; and develop, deploy, and
maintain the certified vendor list that their agencies can then use for
PRIVACY RULES. For this approach to work, governments must also have
well-established data privacy and security levels that they can certify cloud
STANDARDS. Well-established standards should be in place so governments can hold
their cloud vendors accountable for SLAs, physical security, data access, data
location, and so on.
MANDATE. Governments also must require that their agencies move to cloud
services. If they don’t make the move, the scale that makes cloud computing
impactful will never be reached.
news: This approach rarely works because governments often lack a procurement mandate.
The U.S. retired its program in 2012 after three years—despite having a
framework to speed up procurement—because individual IT departments were still
performing their own due diligence. The federal government never achieved the
end game because the departments went through two cycles—one based on the
framework and another based on their own criteria, so the process actually took
single answer here. Every government and every IT infrastructure is unique. The
key is to start with the problems you want to solve, and do a full assessment
of the data, infrastructure, and skillsets you have in place today. This leads
to dynamic IT environments where self-service is possible and workloads are
based in the public or private cloud, or both, as your requirements warrant.
Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.