Role/Description: Proposal Manager; successful bid on a $544M contract for Phase II Cloud opportunity

Opportunity challenge:

  • Provide comprehensive cloud support for U.S. Census Bureau at East coast, Midwest, and West coast sites
  • Provide program for Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) using cloud design and architecture, app migration support, database management with backup and disaster recovery for multiple CSPs, with over 50 different labor categories
  • Offer multiple deployments: public, community, hybrid, and private
  • Supply six services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, content delivery, virtual/physical servers, isolated subnets
  • Orchestrate all CSPs via a single portal—monitoring and consolidated service catalog and billing

Scope: Provide cloud support for:

  • 500,000 enumerators and 6,000 Census staff
  • 500,000+ devices and 25,000 tablets nationally

Environment complexity: Support thousands of sites and multiple internal organizations on multiple CSPs.

Solution complexity: Provide total cloud-managed services solution with a single pane of glass interface for seven CSPs in a consolidated 1) service catalog, 2) billing tool, and 3) security monitoring system.

Process: To accommodate these requirements, A&T assembled a team of nine subcontractors (including seven small businesses), five CSPs, and seven cloud options.

Teaming complexity: Executed eight teaming agreements and three CTAs

Bid iterations: The bid process involved five stages that each required substantial writing; it lasted 9 months—January to late September 2017: 1) gateway screening—Phase 1; 2) proposal submission—Phase 2 (with two detailed case studies; 3) orals; 4) BAFO 1 (new case studies); and 5) BAFO 2

Strategic interventions: I provided three strategic interventions that proved critical to the win

  1. Security resume: Because speakers at the oral presentation had to be key personnel, our team originally entered a cloud architect’s resume in the security key personnel slot to allow him an opportunity to speak, but this this individual did not have strong security credentials. My innovation was to create a deputy technical advisor key-personnel position for him, so we could retain our strong security specialist in the security key personnel slot.
  2. Incumbent agency resume: Because we lacked anyone on the key-personnel team with experience at the Census Bureau, my innovation was to create a Deputy Program Manager key-personnel position, so we could add the resume of an individual with 10+ years of experience at the Census Bureau who could also speak at the orals.
  3. Presence of an AWS advisor during orals: Determined that we would dramatically enhance our credibility if we could show we had the support of the dominant cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Then persuaded the AWS account manager to authorize an AWS cloud expert, known the client, to attend our oral presentation—answer client questions about our solution and through his presence indicate that AWS support for our bid. No other partner had previously acquired such AWS support on any bid for any agency. The account manager believes that this accomplishment was a decisive factor for the evaluators.

Census evaluation: The Census team (CO, COR, and technical leads) provided these debrief comments on the general solution and on case studies similar to those in the ECE Attachment. 0004.

General: “The offeror’s technical approach to providing cloud services, providing managed and ad­hoc services, and security provided many strengths and few weaknesses with minimal risks. Weaknesses require minor correction and do not significantly increase the risk of the offeror’s ability to deliver services. Primary strengths include the proposal to use multiple CSPs, a comprehensive explanation of providing cloud services, and an awareness of issues that could affect successful cloud deployments. Overall, the offeror demonstrated a high degree of technical proficiency, versatility, and process knowledge regarding cloud services and deployments.”

Case studies: “The offeror’s response to this factor was extremely strong with two minor weaknesses and no risks. The offeror demonstrated a strong understanding of how to perform the requirements of the use cases, showing a high degree of technical proficiency and expertise.