Tag Archive for Deltek CRM

WinCenter Business Case: Embed your business acquisition process within an integrated capture and proposal management system

It’s been a very busy couple of months since the release of WinCenter in January.  With this next generation solution we are addressing a business-critical problem of Federal Government Contractors in their business acquisition process.  This article is written to support those that are re-evaluating their business situation and presenting our solution to their executive management.  At the end, I have a list of questions you can use to validate the strength of your current business case.

Very Good, Industry Standard, Business Acquisition Process (“BAP”)

Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked within a lot of industries dealing with many different business processes.  The Federal Government Contractor community has a very well defined, well understood, and, well supported end-to-end business acquisition process (“BAP”) – at a conceptual level.  Every leading FGC organization I’ve worked with has adopted a “flavor” of the core process and modified it to their needs.

The standard BAP looks like the diagram below. (Click on image to see full size)

lohfeld bap3

The core aspects of a BAP are:

  • a Phase-Gate based process
  • standard set of Federal customer milestones
  • use of a standard set of Decision Gate reviews
  • use of structured Color team reviews as milestones for process activities
  • a standard set of Capture, Proposal, and Supporting Departmental activities that drive the above process

The leading FGC’s know the standard BAP above very well.  Their experience has shown that IF and WHEN they can get their team and organization to understand their flavor of the process and follow it (varying the details to the opportunity) then they are more effective at winning business.

The Problem: Cost of Legacy and Lacking Tools

The business acquisition process is in good shape – conceptually.  The problem is that that the legacy tools available to most organizations are lacking to make this an efficient and effective process.  Below is a schematic of what we typically find in most organizations.  These tools are siloed, disconnected, often old and/or proprietary software, missing key elements, not process-driven, and thus, require a great deal of manual effort and activity to augment them in order to follow the business acquisition process.  The result is that getting people to do what is best to win business is too costly.  So, often what should be done, is not.

Legacytools

The most obvious deficiency is that the existing tools are usually not process-oriented.  They are document oriented, databases, or manual.  But, the industry has a well understood end-to-end process.  Where is it?  What tool is used to drive the success of the process?

In addition, most organizations have a vast separation between the Business Development/Capture people and their tools (usually an opportunity/CRM database) and the Proposal practitioners using document management systems. They live and work in different worlds.  The supporting departmental processes (HR, Finance, Legal, Engineering, Pricing, etc.) are also separate and disconnected.  But, the documented business acquisition process is an integrated end-to-end process where users can benefit greatly by visibility and collaboration with others throughout the process.  The means to make this occur is simply not reflected in the set of tools available to the organization.

WinCenter: Integrated Capture and Proposal Management

The solution?  Rather simply, WinCenter is a process-oriented system where we have embedded an industry standard BAP framework into an integrated capture and proposal management system.  In summary, it brings all of the participants together, to work in an integrated system, that is designed to work in accordance with the organizations’ standardized business acquisition process.

WinCenter was created from the ground up through the partnership of Lohfeld Consulting Group, a leading capture and proposal business consulting firm, and CorasWorks, with our flexible, Work Management System.  So, it reflects the process that is the standard of practitioners.

With WinCenter you get:

  • an integrated capture and proposal management system
  • supporting the industry standard business acquisition process
  • that provides the visibility and collaboration amongst all process participants
  • that automates the users work and provides consistency and efficiency
  • and that runs on the Microsoft SharePoint platform.

This solution addresses the need of the market.

And, it goes a step further.  Because it is designed and built using CorasWorks, it is uniquely flexible. This means that organizations are able to customize, enhance, and extend the solution on their own using our industry leading Work Management platform (in version 11) and our business user friendly Application Configuration Wizards.  This next generation capability drives a completely different result from the two legacy options of a) relying on proprietary, custom coded software vendors for changes or upgrades  and b) relying on costly and risky and untimely internal or external custom development.

Validating your Business Case

Here are some business and technical questions to answer to validate the current strength of your business case for WinCenter:

  • Do you, your team and execs believe that if your organization follows a standard business acquisition process you will win more business at lower cost?
  • Do you have a standard business acquisition process in your organization (on paper, whiteboard, documented)?  If not, do you want to?
  • Does your existing toolset look like the one above? Or even less?  What is the cost of supporting that toolset?
  • Do you see the benefit of embedding your BAP within your software system to drive your process?
  • Do you believe in the benefit of an integrated capture and proposal management system? Do your capture and proposal managers also believe in the benefits of this visibility and collaboration?
  • If you had the system to use to drive your team to follow the process how would it impact your Win rate?
  • How would it reduce your costs by increasing your efficiency and visibility?
  • How would it eliminate your risks of missing key elements of your business acquisition process?
  • Do you use Microsoft SharePoint as a platform within your organization?
  • Will you need to integrate with some legacy systems such as a corporate CRM or custom system?
  • Will you need to change your system, innovate, and do you want control over your pace and requirements for system changes?
  • How much will you reduce direct costs in legacy software maintenance and IT (internal or external) support people by investing in an off-the-shelf but flexible system?  How quickly?

Of course, we welcome the opportunity to work with you to answer the questions above.

william

Leveraging CorasWorks to integrate Deltek GovWin CRM with SharePoint-based Capture and Proposal system

  A common scenario is to use CorasWorks to integrate work management on SharePoint with external CRM (customer relationship management) systems.  In this article I’ll review how one customer did this to integrate their Capture and Proposal Management system with Deltek GovWin CRM (a popular CRM for Federal Government Contractors).  I’ll also give an example of how you can go beyond just integration and use work automation to get more work done, more easily and more consistently.

The Situation

Our customer is a $200M Federal Contractor.  They use CorasWorks for their Intranet and many of their work management applications.  They are using Deltek GovWin CRM as their CRM.  They had created a Capture and Proposal Management system using the Lohfeld Consulting Group’s Capture Command Center solution and methodology on SharePoint 2010. So, you had CorasWorks in the middle, the Lohfeld solution running in a siloed area of SharePoint, and, the CRM system running in its silo elsewhere within the enterprise.

They wanted to eliminate the silos and make work more efficient and consistent.  They wanted one seamless work environment.

The Solution

They started by upgrading the Lohfeld solution using CorasWorks to enhance the UI and automate the work.  Viola, one seamless work environment using CorasWorks on SharePoint.  Then, they turned to the integration of the Capture and Proposal Management solution and their CRM system.

The schematic below shows how the resulting system lays out.

image

In addition to the end user work management features, the CorasWorks platform comes with robust integration middleware.  This part of the platform allows you to integrate CorasWorks-based work management solutions with just about any external system – database, web service, cloud service or app.  CorasWorks supports two-way integration.  It is also all done via configuration, without requiring custom compiled code.

In this situation, they decided to use the CorasWorks capability in a one way scenario.  Within the enhanced Lohfeld Capture Command Center they created a virtual directory of opportunities.  When users come in they see all of the opportunities organized by their capture stages.  If they are in a specific business group then they see only the opportunities for that business group.  The virtual directory information is coming from the CRM system yet surfaced within the SharePoint environment and in the context of the user.  The user can then drill down into the working proposal site or into the CRM record.

The Result

This simple solution goes a long way to eliminating the silos and seams of the system.  The benefits are as follows:

  • The users have a structured way to see the opportunities and drill down into where they need to do the work.
  • The CRM remains the “source of truth” about the opportunity data.
  • They eliminate the seams and any need for duplicate work.
  • The virtual opportunity directory is dynamically updated in real time.
  • It is context sensitive so that users will see what they should see based upon their business group.

Getting Better: Let CorasWorks Do More of the Work

Now, this is a great beginning.  But, they can do better by allowing CorasWorks to do more work for the users.  This customer uses CorasWorks Actions to automate work within Capture and Proposal.  They could extend this use to also have CorasWorks automatically update the CRM system for key changes – two way integration.

Let’s imagine that an opportunity is in the Pre-Proposal stage.  The RFP is now released and you need to do some things and move it into the Proposal Development stage.  The user would run a CorasWorks Action and it would do the following:

  • capture a few fields of information about the RFP in a single task specific form
  • update information in SharePoint
  • move the opportunity from Pre-Proposal to Proposal Development
  • update the corresponding fields in Deltek GovWin CRM
  • log the action for tracking and reporting in the work management system
  • send emails out to the Proposal Team, Capture Owner, BD Owner, and business unit manager
  • spawn a couple of pre-defined tasks to kick off the Proposal Development effort such as scheduling a Gate Review, Color Review, Kick Off Meeting, or, task to develop a Compliance Checklist

All of these activities are done by CorasWorks with just one action by the user.  Clearly it would increase the user’s productivity by eliminating work.  It also means that the user doesn’t have to leave SharePoint to go over to the CRM and do data entry.  Accordingly, it insures that all of these pre-defined important items get done – fully and correctly.  Once instructed, CorasWorks doesn’t forget what needs to be done or get distracted.  It just gets it done.

The organization gets the same seamless result as they did before, and, they also get the productivity benefits and consistency of CorasWorks work automation. 

william

Overview of CorasWorks Capture and Proposal Management solution v2.1

Version 2.1 of the CorasWorks Capture and Proposal Management (CnP) solution for Federal Government Contractors has been released.  Over the next few weeks you’ll see articles, press releases, webcasts, and customer case studies for the solution.  This article will provide you with an overview of the solution to get you started.

Background of the Solution

Over our 10 years, we have supported many customers that have leveraged the CorasWorks Work Management platform to create custom Proposal Management solutions that run on SharePoint.  Over the last year, as we’ve built our Federal Contractor business we’ve found considerable demand for a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution for Capture and Proposal Management running on SharePoint.  Version 2.1 delivers this COTS solution as a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible way to master the full life cycle of Capture and Proposal Management.  Its flexible design (technically and via pricing) enables it be leveraged by small and mid-sized businesses and the largest enterprises.

Overview of CnP v2.1

CnP v2.1 is a 3 module system.  It is designed to allow you to get started quickly with a COTS, comprehensive, integrated solution that can be easily customized, enhanced and extended.  The schematic below depicts the core three modules.

Modules of CorasWorks Capture and Proposal Management

Capture and Proposal Management Center – this module is the center of the system.  It allows you to manage all opportunities/proposals through a structured Stage-Phase-Step life cycle.  It provides you with the top down visibility and overall management of your proposal pipeline.  Typically, customers configure this module to reflect (visually and functionally, see screenshot below) their custom Shipley/Lohfeld/APMP process model.  CorasWorks then automates the work of the users to manage the process.

Proposal Working Sites – this is where the collaborative work takes place for each opportunity/proposal from capture through post-proposal.  It is full of CorasWorks enhanced Work Management features to organize and automate the work with integration with all CnP system features, native SharePoint and external applications and systems.

Proposal Asset Library – a key part of the system is the availability of the Proposal Asset Library (PAL) to manage assets such as Past Performance, Forms, Policies, Boilerplate, Graphics, Resumes etc. Leveraging the integrated nature of this solution these resources are made available to users as they work in proposal sites.

Below is the home page of the CnP Management Center.  In this implementation, a customers’ 4 Stage, 8 Phase, 22 Step “baseline” process is depicted visually to show where everything stands.

[Click on the image to enlarge]

Capture and Proposal Managment Home - Stage-Phase-Step: Shipley-Lohfeld process

Key Features of the Solution

Below I’ll highlight key features of the CorasWorks CnP v2.1 solution.

  • Support for custom Stage-Phase-Step Process -  flexible Stage-based process management and the ability to embed the solution with your customized way of working
  • Auto-provisioning and configuration of Proposal Working Sites
  • All Documents Work Management – special display allowing users to go to one place to see and act on all documents related to a proposal across multiple libraries
  • Color Review Workspaces – special workspaces for proposal color and gate reviews supporting review and commenting
  • Master Calendaring – central master calendar of events such as color reviews across all proposals in the system, editable and accessible from within each proposal working site
  • Pinpoint Search and Fetch – ability for users to search and fetch information from Proposal Asset Libraries while working within a proposal site
  • Writer Assignment Management – automation of the assignment, notification, and management of writer tasks
  • My Work – enable users to see, contribute and act on work related to them as individuals from across the system
  • Support for Role-Based Work Consoles – ability to create work consoles where users of a certain role, such as teaming partners, can go and work with information from across the system
  • Configurable reporting – off-the-shelf you have configurable reporting in Tabular Reports with one click to print, to Excel, PDF, and Word.  You also have configurable Pivot Charting.
  • Integration of third-party CRM Systems – ability to integrate the solution with the leading CRM systems  (Deltek GovWin, Salesforce, MS CRM) and just about any other external system (ERP, HR, Custom, SAAS app)

CnP v2.1: Flexibility to Accommodate and Innovate

If you are using any of the COTS legacy proposal management solutions in the market you are constrained by their proprietary, fragile, and custom coded design.  If you are using SharePoint that is heavily customized by IT or a proprietary system, while this may mean that it could be modified, the cost, risk, and time is so high that change is constrained.  If you use native SharePoint or Alfresco or file shares, you are probably working with tools that are feature constrained, relying on manual content-driven work, siloed document libraries, siloed proposal sites and an environment where assets like proposal asset libraries are siloed.

With CorasWorks CnP v2.1, you are in a different world.  The COTS solution is feature rich but is really your base solution.  As a solution on the CorasWorks Work Management platform, it is unusually flexible and unusually easy to change – so easy that it is normally business users that customize, enhance, and even extend the solution leveraging the market leading CorasWorks Configuration Wizards.  This flexibility enables organizations to get what they want today, change things on the fly to accommodate specific work needs, and to innovate as their needs change.

A new choice

Now, with CorasWorks CnP v2.1 you have a new choice.  If you have little in the way of formal CnP tools or are using native SharePoint, you don’t have to just make do.  Our affordable pricing model allows you to move up the value stack to a COTS solution on SharePoint with a rich feature set to optimize your work and stay competitive.  Or, if you are heavily invested in a legacy, costly system you can replace them or enhance them with just what you need often at less than it costs you to maintain them.

No matter where you come from, the key is that you are not switching to a locked-in COTS system.  CorasWorks CnP is open, flexible and will allow you to decide where you want to go from here.

For more information:

 

william