Tag Archive for configuration wizards

Empowering business users to have it their way (Part 3)

This is a third is a series of articles posted today that all relate to how the CorasWorks Work Management system compares to CRM systems.  The first talked about our work automation and how it increases business user task productivity 30x.  The second addresses the difference in design between work management systems and CRM systems and why this enables your business users to be optimally productive.  This article will talk about how CorasWorks empowers business users to have it their way.  It ties into the previous two articles.

If you read my first article, I related a story about a demo I had today.  A business user (in Business Development of a Federal Government Contractor) was showing their application to IT and explaining how it helps them manage their work to win business.

Here is the back story…

I arrived early for the demo and was sitting with the business user.  They wanted to set up the demo for IT.  They were showing their production system so they didn’t want emails firing off to real workers.  They spun up our Action Wizard and modified the email notification to instead ping people from IT.  Then, they went into our Display Wizard and changed the display to use the new action.  Then, they decided to change the time when a site was auto-provisioned, so they changed a field in an action.

Now, remember this is a business user who was preparing their demo for IT.  And, it was a BD Manager (think Sales Manager).  Even that is a bit of a change up – right?

So, we did the demo and had a discussion.  During the meeting, the business user showed IT how easy it was to change things using the CorasWorks Wizards.  At the end of the meeting the business user was going to have a meeting with IT to talk to them about changes they wanted in their CRM system.

They were going to have the normal business user-to-IT type of meeting.  They were going to meet with IT and a CRM developer and detail their requirements.  The upshot would be that IT would put the changes into their project queue which would then go into their project schedule, assuming they had the budget and time.  Then, at some point in the future the business user may have their changes.  Then, most probably they’d have to go back through the process to make changes to the changes to get what they really wanted.

Two Points, One Observation, One Question

First, is that with CorasWorks the business user is empowered.  Note that they were using our Wizards to modify their business process and educating IT about the tool, the ease of configuration, and, the business value.  It seemed so natural, yet, in reality it was a startling role reversal.  In addition, IT was fine with it.

Second, IT is guarded about their CRM – for good reason.  The CRM is a single system.  IT wouldn’t allow a business user to make changes directly.  They could mess it up for everyone else.  The skill level required is too great.  It needs to be controlled.  It is a costly, time consuming process.

What I find interesting is that the application of our business user is a business critical application that is used to drive revenue.  It is their IDIQ Task Order Management system.  It is the way they actually do their work to drive business.  The CRM system is a database that our Business Development person “has to update”.  It seemed to be natural that the business person would be empowered to control what they deem to be business critical yet IT would control the corporate system that needs to be updated.

So, in this scenario things are as they should be.  But, I wonder if organizations go far enough to empower business users with the tools they need and want to produce better outcomes vs. corporate systems that support management.

william

Overview of CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management v2.1

Our newest version of the CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management solution for Federal Contractors is now available.  On April 10th, we did a webcast introducing the solution to the market.  For access to the recorded webcast, that includes about 30 minutes of demo time and the powerpoint deck used in the webcast – email info@corasworks.net.  In this article, I’ll provide an overview of the v2.1 release.

The Purpose

Simply put, the solution provides you with the means to efficiently and effectively manage Task Orders through their life cycle.  Below is a graphic showing the core stages of the life cycle supported by the solution.

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Solution and Implementation Scenario Flexibility

The solution consists of 6 modules leveraging the CorasWorks v11 Work Management platform running on SharePoint 2010.  It is designed to be flexible to meet a number of scenarios such as:

  • Corporate IDIQ/GWAC centers with many IDIQs
  • Prime, multi-award IDIQs
  • Sub contractor IDIQ Task Order Management
  • Single Award Task Orders
  • Business Units with multiple IDIQs and depth of working on Proposals and Delivering the Work
  • IDIQs with extensive partner engagement or no partners
  • Small Business with their first IDIQ as a Prime contractor

Core Features

At its core the v2.1 solution continues to support the core IDIQ work management workload with the following features:

  • Manage Portfolio of IDIQ Vehicles
  • Capture Task Orders
  • Auto-Provisioning of IDIQ Vehicles and Task Order Working Sites
  • Bid/No Bid Decisions
  • Manage Partners, Partner Surveys and Engagement
  • Business Unit Surveys and Engagement
  • Proposal development and review
  • Shared Proposal Asset Libraries (such as Past Performance, Forms and Templates, Boilerplate, and Graphics)
  • Stage-Gate Management Process and Activities
  • Task/Work Request Management
  • Shared Calendaring
  • Real time Reporting/Drill Down
  • Platform support for Integration with external CRM, ERP and HR systems
  • Highly configurable actions and workflow
  • Leverage SharePoint data, security and administration.

New Features in v2.1

This version has been extensively upgraded.  Below I highlight three key enhancements.

IDIQ Management Hub

This new module provides a single place for users to go to see, contribute, and act on work across many IDIQ vehicles and Task Orders.  From one place you can post task orders to different vehicles, see Task Orders across vehicles and their stages and drill down into the working sites, see and respond to partner and business unit expressions of interest (surveys), get reporting across vehicles that aggregates the information or that is comparative.

Below is a screenshot of this module (click to enlarge).

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Enhanced Partner Engagement Sites

In v2.1, each Partner has their own site where they do their work and engage with you.  From here they can view new Task Orders, submit their expressions of interest, and review previous EOI’s and your response.  In addition, in v2.1 we’ve added support for partners to submit “future opportunities” that you can then centrally manage.  These opportunities can be reviewed and moved into Watch Lists and eventually into the appropriate Task Order when it is released.

Below is a screenshot of the new Partner Site (click to enlarge).

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Increased Flexibility with new configuration wizard: Features Designer

All of the modules of the solution have been enhanced to make them even more flexible so that you can configure the solution to meet very specific needs.  For instance, you may want to configure vehicles and their processes to be slightly different.  Or, you may want the Proposal Working sites to be different.  Using CorasWorks configuration wizards, power users are able to make changes on the fly without affecting the overall system.  A new configuration wizard added in v2.1 is the Features Designer.  This allows power users to very easily turn on and off features of a module with a click or re-arrange their navigation with drag and drop.

Below is a screenshot of the Features Designer wizard (click to enlarge) for an IDIQ Vehicle site.  Note that the Watchlist, Pipeline, and Vehicle Library are greyed out.  To enable the feature just click the light-bulb.  You can change the names and drag and drop items to rearrange the navigation.

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With v2.1 – Comprehensive AND Flexible

If you are interested, watch the demo for the webcast mentioned above.  This will show you the comprehensive feature set of the solution out of the box.  However, it is the flexibility of this solution that really makes it work for customers.  In our implementations, we always start with our “base solution” and get the customer up and running quickly.  Yet, every customer at the end of the day is different.  It is typical for each Business Unit and often each Vehicle to need changes that allow users to optimize their work.  The unique configurability of the solution leveraging the CorasWorks wizards supports this.  Thus, with this solution you get the best blend of commercial off the shelf software that can be easily configured as if it were custom.

William

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See additional articles for IDIQ Task Order Management in this blog.

Visit CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management for product information.