Procurement Experts Offer Advice for Leveraging Cloud Technology in the Procurement Process

As the cloud increasingly dominates both public and private sector operations, its impact on procurement has become a topic of focus in recent years. According to experts in the field, migrating to the cloud offers numerous benefits across process burdens, costs and timing.

Michael Tocci, president of Paperless Innovations, elaborated on the perks of using cloud technology with a story detailing the cumbersome task of reaching necessary audit and compliance results without modernized, automated software.

“What happens once we implement our solution is that we’re able to just remove all of the burden associated with manual input,” Tocci said at GovCon Wire’s Elevating Procurement in the Cloud-First Era webinar.

Webinar: Elevating Procurement in the Cloud-First Era

Colette Volkmer, Immigration and Customs Enforcement purchase card manager and senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Acquisition Management, touched on the importance of partnership as both an additional asset and a process necessity.

As organizations execute these modernization strategies, collaboration and understanding are critical to ensuring a successful procurement process. Volkmer cited human resistance to change as one of the biggest hurdles, making the inclusion and education of customers throughout the process a must.

“It is having the right people at the table, having those conversations, having the engagement with industry and having that discovery session,” said DHS Procurement Innovation Coach Monica Taylor.

While cloud services offer a variety of perks for both commercial and federal organizations, there is a need to cooperate and facilitate conversations between companies and agencies to create a procurement process that leverages the strengths and considerations of all parties involved in a contract.

Taylor shared her strategy for addressing this challenge and ensuring a smooth procurement process. She stressed the importance of flexibility, sharing ideas and even utilizing expertise from other commercial organizations.

Another important factor in a successful procurement process is an understanding of the supported agency’s mission. Reflecting on his Navy days, Mark Fox, sales manager of federal Amazon business at Amazon Web Services, emphasized that specific mission focuses are vastly different across agencies and highlighted the importance of sticking to those goals.

“It’s really about looking at industry commercial best practices, letting industry come in and do those things and trying to keep agencies focused on what is unique to what they do, what is really tied to their mission,” Fox said.

A productive collaboration process can also strengthen market understanding for both public and private participants, an additional perk of public and private sector collaborations.

“It helps industry validate their solutions to begin with and it also helps the contracting officers understand what is already out there,” commented Tocci.

Fox said that trust built up throughout the information technology transformation endeavors over the past decade should be harnessed to aid existing contract vehicles with adopting cloud technologies needed to impact procurement.

“Cloud procurement today is foundational. It is an enabler to do a lot of things that we’ve talked about that are tied to transformative efforts,” emphasized Fox.

He also highlighted the growing number of products and services within the cloud realm, which gives buyers more options and allows for more flexibility across different objectives.

“If we keep focusing back on the mission and these enabling capabilities between cloud technologies and the tools that it’s enabled to use, we’ll have a marked impact on our federal agencies and their customers at the end of the day,” Fox said.

To watch the full discussion, visit GovCon Wire’s Events page.

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