McClure: Cloud services require acquisition officers to retool

Lessons learned from FedRAMP pilots will be shared with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council.

As core enterprise systems move to the cloud, provisioning services in that environment could require revised training for acquisition officers. Existing rules, processes and culture need to be re-thought, said Dave McClure, associate administrator at the GSA's office of citizen services and innovative technologies.

“The existing way in which we contract both for products and services in the government goes right up against the model for cloud, which is price elasticity, demand elasticity, so there’s still some hiccups there,” said McClure March 3 at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C.

Some cloud computing contracts don’t have pricing elasticity truly built in, which could be a challenge as programs look to layer their applications and scale out an existing cloud infrastructure, said McClure.

Acquisition officers are “kind of hacking through, right now,” said Rob Carey, Defense Department deputy chief information officer. But it’s something the FedRAMP joint authorization board is acutely aware of, he added.

“In our pilots we have going, we’re finding those challenges,” said Carey. “We’re trying to make sure those lessons learned are poured into the Chief Acquisition Officers Council to say, how do you do this.”

Carey said this is simply what happens with the adoption of disruptive technology.

“You will continue to find challenges as we break through the edges of what some bright engineer thinks he can do or wants to do, and the contracting officer says, ‘Let me figure out how we can actually get that done for you,’” said Carey.

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