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The Code for America Summit is an annual conference where government and technology intersect. The event, put on by the nonprofit Code for America, has three goals:

  1. Show what’s possible with government services.
  2. Promote principles and practices that make positive change real.
  3. Tackle some of government’s biggest challenges in the digital age

As part of the pre-conference workshops, Internet Association’s Director of Cloud Policy and Counsel Alla Goldman Seiffert and independent consultant Dave Zvenyach hosted a training session titled Buying Tech in 2019. The workshop focused on the best ways for the public sector to buy innovative tech to make government agencies more efficient by deploying cost effective, modern technology to deliver mission services in the internet age. This is part of IA’s broader work on cloud policy, which focuses on lowering the barriers to cloud adoption in the public sector and regulated industries. 

Credit: Code For America. Used under Creative Commons License

The discussion began with public sector procurement trade-offs. Alla emphasized that public sector buying is inherently unique because competition is at the heart of government procurement. She also noted that buying is challenging since program and mission goals may sometimes be at odds with broader public policy goals for spending taxpayer dollars. The workshop highlighted several trade-offs inherent in the way government purchases, including competition, integrity, transparency, and socioeconomic factors.

The workshop covered the real need for government to buy innovative technology, such as cloud-based products. The cloud allows government agencies to be nimble by offering flexible scaling options and enhanced security by protecting data at the perimeter. 

Credit: Code For America. Used under Creative Commons License

The workshop examined effective methods for government to buy SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and custom software development services within the current legal framework. There are many hurdles for cloud adoption in the public sector, and this talk was meant to provide useful tips and frameworks for buying great technology while remaining compliant with laws and regulations. 

Alla concluded the workshop by emphasizing that while the government buying cloud isn’t always simple, it can be done using a variety of already-existing methods and authorities at the federal, state, and local levels.

Learn more about IA’s enterprise cloud policy positions and recent activity here.