The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is known for monitoring oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere. Its three-pronged mission is
- “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts;
- to share that knowledge and information with others; and
- to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.”
As part of its mission, NOAA prioritizes sharing its institutional knowledge with the public, private, and academic sectors. To make public data like water reports, climate projections, and weather warnings readily available, NOAA turned to GSA’s cloud computing technology.
GSA’s Cloud Acquisition Team considers the NOAA Cloud Initiative a model effort for smart cloud migration. Using the federal cloud strategy Cloud Smart as its guide, NOAA is effectively using the cloud to support its business and mission operations.
Moving Operations and Big Data to the Cloud
According to the April 2019 NOAA Business Brief, “NOAA works with five commercial cloud providers to see how their services can facilitate full and open data access to the taxpayer and to foster innovation by leveraging new automation tools to make data more readily accessible. To date, more than 40 NOAA datasets have moved to commercial cloud provider systems.” The Brief calls for further investment in cloud computing to not only save taxpayer dollars, but also provide improved performance and cybersecurity.
Model Experience, Multiple Vendors
NOAA’s experience shows GSA’s cloud acquisition best practices in action.
First, the NOAA Cloud Initiative plans to acquire their enterprise-level cloud solution through multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). By doing so, they will diversify their technical capabilities and avoid being locked in to one vendor.
Second, NOAA uses Statement of Objectives (SOO) documents instead of Statements of Work (SOW) to illustrate the agency’s cloud goals.
For example, NOAA wants their CSP to“provide cloud storage services that will provide persistent storage, backup service, long-term storage, continuity of operations (COOP), and disaster recovery services.”
By using this type of capabilities-based acquisition tool, the responsibility for preparing SOW shifts from the government to the companies that respond to the solicitation.
The NOAA Cloud Initiative package also specifies a desired contract type. Doing so lets prospective vendors know the right pricing model to propose, which saves time and avoids confusion.
Join the Cloud Information Center
If your agency is considering a transition to cloud or is acquiring a cloud solution, anchor your plan in your mission and guide it by your business objectives. Make the complicated acquisition process go faster by keeping the Cloud Smart strategy in mind.
For more cloud tips, cloud acquisition guidance, templates, and government-wide resources, visit GSA’s Cloud Information Center at gsa.gov/cic. You can also contact our Cloud Acquisition Team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 202-969-7113.