When Utah and the National Association of State Procurement Officers (NASPO) ValuePoint wanted to streamline cloud procurements across the country, they turned to Christopher Hughes to lead the charge. After just under three years in Utah’s Division of Purchasing, Hughes recently released a multistate Cloud Solutions solicitation that could save states and their taxpayers millions of dollars.
The basic concept behind the multiyear procurement undertaking was to give states tools to make buying cloud solutions simpler using collective purchasing power. Vetted companies are added to a roster and states can take advantage of what they offer. In his post, the assistant contracting director said working across agencies to procure any item helps lend perspective to all that the state is responsible for.
“One day I may be working on a cooperative contract for cloud services and the next day I will be reviewing a solicitation for an agency contract for calendars. And each of these procurements is important to the end user of the contract, so it is important that I learn why the item is needed.”
The cloud project was no different. It provided a substantial value to all involved but required Hughes to work outside of his expertise and leverage all available resources to get the job done. “During the solicitation process, I was able to collaborate with others from my own state that I normally would not work with, along with others from other states and cloud experts from the Cloud Security Alliance, NASPO ValuePoint, Cloud BC and NASCIO. These people were able to help me understand the need and importance of cloud in the public sector,” he said, citing the collaboration as critical to the success of the effort.
It’s a strategy Hughes sees as necessary, especially on tech procurements, moving forward.
“It is beneficial … to reach out to others to see what has worked out and what has not, especially as technology advances rapidly.”