Making Procurement of Cloud Services Easier for Research & Higher Education

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

By Sean O’Brien – Associate Vice President, NET+ Cloud Services and Sue Gavazzi, Contract Analyst Consultant

A Roundup of Resources in Recognition of National Procurement Month

March is National Procurement Month, a time to recognize the vital role that procurement professionals play in the research and education (R&E) community. The Internet2 NET+ program supports procurement professionals in meeting the needs and expectations of their institutions by pre-negotiating cloud contracts and pricing for leading cloud services. 

We continue to look for ways to support the procurement community by adding services through competitive procurement, engaging an advisory group, and evaluating ways to expand vendor management capabilities. Read on to learn more about what we are working on. 

You can also learn more about community vendor management activities at an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, March 27 at 3:00  p.m. ET. Register for the webinar at this link.

We’re Here for You

NET+ Guide

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At Internet2, we understand the challenges and opportunities that procurement professionals face in the cloud era. 

That’s why we developed the NET+ program, a collaborative initiative that leverages the collective expertise and influence of R&E institutions to provide cloud solutions that are tailored to the R&E community.

The NET+ program offers a portfolio of cloud services vetted by our members through a rigorous peer-driven process. These services address common challenges, such as security, identity management, accessibility, compliance, and integration. NET+ contracts also offer favorable terms and conditions, transparent pricing, and community support.

In addition to the NET+ Program, the Cloud Scorecard Directory also provides a valuable way for procurement professionals to quickly determine if a specific service meets R&E standards.

The Growing Need for IT Vendor Management

As cloud service providers continue to see market consolidation and upward pricing pressure, the discipline of vendor management is of growing importance in the R&E community.

If your role supports contracting, performance, or relationships with your institution’s IT vendors, you may be interested in reading the Community Framework for IT Vendor Management

An Internet2 working group of experts in various roles at both public and private institutions created this framework. It provides an outline of activities that can help you manage your IT vendor relationships more effectively and efficiently.

Venn diagram graphic for operational IT, Procurement management, and IT strategy.

The framework identifies three key areas where vendor management-related activities intersect: operational IT, procurement management, and IT strategy. Those three areas are overlaid with the work phases of the vendor or contract lifecycle: foundational, executional, and relationship.

The framework is not meant to be prescriptive or comprehensive, but rather to serve as a resource for you to develop and mature your skills and processes in this complex area.

Community Channels and Collaboration 

Graphic for how to deploy cloud services, save cost, and manage risk in research and education.

Read Our Q&A with Community Cloud Experts

We also engage with members of the procurement community through various channels to ensure that we understand their needs and priorities and that we provide them with the resources and guidance they need to make informed decisions. 

One of these channels is the NET+ Business, Procurement, and Legal Advisory Committee (BPLAC), a group of representatives from Internet2 member institutions that advises us on business, procurement, and legal issues related to NET+ services.

BPLAC focuses on ways to expand NET+ and Internet2’s community reach with trust and transparency, meeting regularly to discuss topics, such as contract negotiation, risk management, data privacy, accessibility, and service evaluation. This advisory committee provides input on updating and refining documentation for the NET+ program —such as the NET+ Contract Summary, which provides at-a-glance information about service agreements; the Agreement Cover Sheet, which summarizes the negotiations that lead to agreements; and the Procurement Analysis Worksheet, which details key contract terms that were negotiated for NET+ agreements.

More Resources for You

Graphic for NET+ services for procurement.

To augment our support of the procurement community, we recently updated our NET+ web page with new resources and information.

You can now find a dedicated page for procurement professionals that provides an overview of the NET+ program, its benefits and value proposition, its governance and process, and its current portfolio of services. You can also find links to other useful resources, such as FAQs, webinars, case studies, testimonials, and contact information for NET+ Services.

Finally, to support public institutions’ procurement needs, we have initiated competitive processes for some cloud services for them to leverage. Examples include RFPs for Neutral Host Network Platform and an AWS Public Sector Partner, as well as an RFI for Data Migration Tools. 

We invite you to explore these resources and learn more about how NET+ can help you achieve your procurement objectives. We also welcome your feedback and suggestions on how we can enhance our program and services to better serve you. Please feel free to reach out to us at netplus@internet2.edu.

We thank you for your dedication and contribution to the R&E community. Happy National Procurement Month!