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)
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.
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.