Tag Archive for IDIQ

Managing CDRL deliverables for Post-Award IDIQ Contracts and Task Orders

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I just posted an article about the use of CorasWorks to enhance a large Contract/Program Management system to support the CDRL deliverable process.  This was a custom enhancement to their post-award Program Management system.  It is a broad and big system.  However, many of our customers using the CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management solution also require this capability within a more specific scope.

The capability to programmatically interact with Customers for CDRLs and other purposes could be part of a corporate system.  However, usually this concern rests with Program Managers that are managing a specific IDIQ program.  They are fully responsible for the whole life cycle of the IDIQ and Task Orders from winning the task order through delivery and task order completion.  So, they often want this capability for just their IDIQ.

As part of the Task Order post-award work, the Program Manager or designee often has to provide CDRL deliverables or other information for a customer of the Task Order.  In addition, the Program Manager needs to provide CDRLs or other information to the Contracting Officer for the IDIQ.

This CDRL deliverable capability is just an extension to the basic IDIQ Task Order Management system.  It is usually implemented in a similar way to which we implement the Partner Portal and Partner Work Consoles.   The main work process is very similar to that described in the article above.

A good way to think of how you are working is the metaphor of an airplane.  Your CorasWorks IDIQ Vehicle Management site is the middle of the airplane (the fuselage).  On one side you have your Teaming Partners (a wing).  On the other side, you are now adding a wing for your Customers to interact with you.  Working in this way you are able to manage the work in one place and interact with your Teaming Partners and Customers.  They have there place to go to See, Contribute, and Act with information that you determine.  You have the ability to control the flow from one place.

It is a better way to fly…

william

Small Business IDIQ Prime–You Won! Now What?

So, you are one of the small businesses that just won a Prime contractor position on a major IDIQ contract.  Congratulations!  It was a lot of work, worry and risk. You are now in the drivers seat with the potential for a great deal of business.  So, how do you go about translating the opportunity into revenue and profits?  And, how do you now play the game as a Prime and compete along with other leading companies in the space?  An important part will be your ability to operationalize the process of managing and responding  to Task Orders.  This article explains how CorasWorks can help you succeed.

Our IDIQ Task Order Management Solution

Recently, we introduced version 2.1 of our commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) IDIQ Task Order Management solution for Federal Government Contractors (see the launch press release CorasWorks Announces New Version of IDIQ Task Order Management Solution on SharePoint ).  Over the last year this solution has become a market leader amongst the Top 100 Federal Contractors.  It is a comprehensive solution that operationalizes the full life cycle of managing Task Orders including the important activity of engaging Teaming Partners.

With version 2.1 of this solution we have made it more flexible and able to be configured to meet the different needs of Small Business Prime contractors such as yourself.  In addition, we introduced a new pricing model that enables smaller businesses to start on an annual, per user term basis.  This makes it far more affordable for smaller organizations.

Now, with this solution, as a Small Business IDIQ Prime you can now get going quickly with an industry leading way of working that is appropriate for your business and affordable.  To learn more about the solution and features see my overview article Overview of CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management v2.1.  For more detailed product information, including case studies and webcasts with demos, visit CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management on our website.

And Beyond…

The CorasWorks IDIQ solution is a great place to start.  The solution runs on Microsoft SharePoint.  So, once it is in place you will have a SharePoint environment, the CorasWorks Work Management platform, and, your IDIQ solution.  You can then leverage this work environment to add additional value.

Let’s say you are using the IDIQ solution for your major Prime contract.  You can add modules to be used to manage the work that you do as a subcontractor to other Primes.  The work as a subcontractor is slightly different.  But, it is just a “flavor” of your IDIQ solution that you can create by just reusing what you now have and tweak it to the new scenario.

This leads to an important point about CorasWorks software.  Our solutions leverage our Work Management platform, first introduced in 2003 and now in version 11.  It is the market leading platform for configurable business solutions on SharePoint.  This means that it is very easy to customize your solutions and enhance and extend them.  This is done using the CorasWorks Configuration Wizards and is so easy that empowered business users are usually the ones to get it done.  This ability is important for a Small Business as it enables you to continue to make changes and innovate on your own without the cost or dependency of leaning on CorasWorks or any one else.

You can go further.  For instance, you can just layer on the COTS CorasWorks Capture and Proposal Management (CnP) solution.  Since you will have already invested in SharePoint and the CorasWorks platform, you only have the incremental cost for the solution.  This solution will provide you with a way to manage the full life cycle of opportunities through the Capture and Proposal Development process.  It also includes a feature for Opportunity Management, which may be enough so that you don’t have to invest in a separate CRM solution at this time.  For more information on this solution see the overview article of CnP v2.1 and read a case study of a $30m Small Business graduate.

Of course, by design our IDIQ solution and our Capture and Proposal Management solution are integrated so that you can share elements.  Examples are shared Proposal Asset Libraries, the ability to see, contribute, and act on your work across the different solutions, and enabling Partners to engage with you on both IDIQs and RFPs.  You can also get reports and manage all of your Business Development activities across these solutions.

How about after you win a Task Order?  With CorasWorks, you can also set up Customer sites where your customers can go and access your IDIQ CDRL reports and interact with you – a common requirement of major IDIQs.  You can also spin up the COTS CorasWorks Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solution to actually manage the delivery work on Task Orders.  This easy to use and pre-integrated solution becomes part of your integrated work environment.

CorasWorks for Small Businesses

We have been serving small businesses since our founding 10 years ago.  Small businesses represent about 1/3rd of our 1,000 customers.  A core value proposition for small businesses is that they are able to buy or build multiple applications that run within a single CorasWorks-SharePoint work environment and are natively integrated.  This reduces complexity and cost and increases your ability to control your destiny.  And, with our new solutions and pricing for Small Business Federal Contractors you can now quickly add these COTS solutions and compete at the level of other leading players in the industry.

You have a great opportunity.  We look forward to helping you reap the rewards…

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.

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.

Mastering the Core Federal Government Contractor Work-Stream

Its been almost 3 months since my last post.  No, no vacation.  Instead, I’ve been heads down supporting implementations with our Federal Government Contractors.  I’ve also been working on a suite of solutions being launched over the next few months that focus in on the core activities of Federal Contractors.  Sure, you’ve probably heard about Sequestration and Federal budget cuts.  This is putting even more pressure on our FC customers to get more efficient and effective.  So, we are helping by “productizing” solutions and pre-integrating them to increase the competitiveness of our customers.

In this article, I am going to cover the 3 activities that make up the “core work-stream” for the folks in this industry.  A work-stream is a set of “loosely coupled” activities that build on each other. They are independent activities but necessary elements to deliver the result.  Even if you are not a Federal Contractor you might find it interesting since at the heart of any industry, its participants have a set of solutions/activities that represent their core work-stream for success.  So, as you read this, think about what your core work-stream might look like.

Now, to Federal Government Contractors.  Below is a graphic depicting the core work-stream.  It consists of three activities (the ones in blue).  If you do them well, you’ll succeed; if you don’t, you hurt your chances of success.  They are different.  They are usually managed by different people.  They have different outputs.  They are managed by different metrics.  Yet, effectively, in this industry, they represent the critical path that transforms opportunities into money in the bank.

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Over the last year, we’ve worked with customers to build out each of these three activities as separate “productized” solutions that can be part of one, integrated work environment. Below I’ll list each solution as it relates to each of the three activities of the core work-stream:

CorasWorks Capture and Proposal Management v2.1

This solution is used to manage the process of capturing business including the development of the proposal and the maintenance of all of the Proposal Assets that support the process.  It is a Stage-Phase-Step process that can be managed to be most effective.  This is the key first piece to get you going.

CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management v2.1

About a third of Federal Contractor business now comes through IDIQ/GWAC vehicles.  If you won a single award contract or a multi-award IDIQ, you then will want to process those task orders that come in.  With multi-award IDIQs you have to respond quickly, often with Teaming Partners, in order to really win the business.  You need to master the art of collaborative work that is fast, efficient and effective.

CorasWorks Project, Portfolio and Program Management for Delivery v3.2

So, now you have won the business.  You need to deliver on it.  This is where our PPM solution comes in.  Our solution focuses on helping the users to get the work done in a collaborative manner.  The key is the solutions flexibility which enables users to modify the solution to do very different kinds of “project” work.  Some may have tasks and classic GANTT.  While others may be just about collaboration and reporting or represent Programs of multiple activities by customers, employees, and partners.

The Core and the Supporting Activities

The core activities are the core.  You must do these well.  Surrounding these are a host of other activities that help to make you successful.  A very small list might be:

  • working with HR for recruiting
  • working with Contract Administration to get SOWs with teaming partners
  • managing an overall CMMI or ISO set of policies
  • integrating with CRM that is your database of opportunities and contact tracking
  • working with Legal
  • Partner Engagement
  • Customer Engagement
  • training
  • knowledge management and open collaboration
  • marketing activities
  • solution innovation management
  • executive and management dashboards, reporting, and drilldowns
  • integration with Financial systems/ERP

Using CorasWorks each of the above can also be added to your environment as supporting activities.  Each adds value.  However, to say it again, you need to get the core elements working properly to make money.

What Shape is Your Core In?

Most people can use some help with their core work-stream.  Many can use a lot of help.  Those that have been around for years usually have good practices, but, aging systems.  The possibilities for systems/tools have changed over even just the last 5 years.  With flexible systems such as CorasWorks on SharePoint you are able to extend and enhance existing systems or replace them quite quickly and cost effectively.  If you have the feeling that you are stuck with legacy, fixed, custom coded systems and may be missing the boat to staying competitive – then, there is a good chance that this is the reality.  If you are young and growing but need to put core work-stream systems in place, then, you can step to the front of the technology stack.  However, you will still need to go to work on learning and developing the right processes and practices.  It helps to have systems like CorasWorks’ where you can get started with a simpler approach that is also cost-effective and then change the system to adapt as your people and organization grow and learn.

No matter which situation you are in, with the competitive pressures of today and the foreseeable future, it is critical to continually make sure that your core is in good shape.

william

IDIQ Task Order Management as a Shared Service on SharePoint

We are doing a lot of work enabling Federal Contractors with IDIQ Task Order Management solutions.  When we first got going with this solution a year ago we focused on the IDIQ/GWAC center that was managed at the Corporate level.  Very quickly it started to integrate with the Capture and Proposal work.  Then, it moved out to serve the needs of the business groups.  Today, we are enabling most of our customers in a Shared Services model powered by CorasWorks within a SharePoint work environment.  I’ll talk about this.

Larger Federal Contractors usually have a Proposal Center.  They may have a corporately managed IDIQ/GWAC center.  The problem is that these capabilities only address the top of the pyramid.  The rest of work, that happens at the Business Group level, is usually very, very ad hoc using the tools of email and excel.

The nirvana is to get each group what they need but to do it in a way that enables corporate standards and operational leverage.  For years, organizations have lived with a pendulum that swings between centralization and decentralization.  With each swing somebody loses.  Effectively, our Shared Services model strikes a working balance that supports both centralization and local optimization.

With our Shared Services model we usually go through a few phases of adoption as follows.

First, we usually take care of the Corporate level.  This entails putting in or augmenting the Proposal Center and often adding in the core IDIQ Task Order Management capability.  We then integrate the IDIQ work into the Proposal System and other enterprise systems including CRM (often Deltek GovWin CRM), their Contract Administration system, and HR recruiting systems.

We then enable corporate to serve up IDIQ Task Order Management to the business groups.  The key is that each business groups needs to have it slightly their way.  Their needs often differ from Corporate (usually much deeper where they have to do most of their own proposals and be concerned about downstream work – after they’ve won), between business groups, and, even between IDIQs (like the reporting requirements and the Partners they are working with).

Accordingly, what we provide is a standard, base IDIQ Task Order Management solution.  This can then be cloned and customized to meet the needs of each business group and even down to the IDIQ level.  Yet, it is all part of your enterprise shared application service and also of the shared SharePoint work environment.  So, corporate capabilities can be standardized and made available as part of the Shared Service to the business groups across the enterprise.  Examples are Proposal Requests and Management, Gate Reviews, Supporting Processes (such as HR Staffing Requests and Conflict of Interest checks), Standards (CMMI, PMO, Partner Onramping), and Knowledge Repositories (such as Pricing, Forms, and Past Performance that are shared with security and in context).

It sum, it becomes a standardized, integrated, yet, distributed and locally optimized system.  You might say that it is a system of systems.  The key is that Corporate is not completely in control.  Corporate has enabled the business groups to have flexibility.  The business groups can optimize the way they work, but, do it within constraints that maintain control and the ability to centrally manage the shared infrastructure.  It is truly amazing what results you can achieve when you hit the right balance between the needs of business groups and corporate.

With this shared services model you get the best of both worlds: central control and standardization, but, the ability for the business groups to get what they need to optimize their work.  And, of course in this model the cost is far lower to support and deliver what users need across the board.

If you visit our Federal Contractor micro-site and review the case studies you’ll get a sense of how this approach has worked with different customers of different sizes and with different solutions.

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.

New Solutions and Case Studies for Federal Contractors

We continue to enhance our support for Federal Government Contractors.  We just updated the Federal Contractor microsite section of our web site.  Assuming that you have been there before, press CNTRL-F5 to refresh the content.

We now highlight 5 solutions for Federal Contractors.  We have 6 new Case Studies for a total of 10.  The solutions are:

  • IDIQ Task Order Management
  • Capture and Proposal Management
  • Program, Project and Portfolio Management
  • Idea and Innovation Management (new)
  • Shared Services Work Management Environments

For an overview of our Federal Contractor vertical in 2012 and solution plans in 2013 see the following article:

CorasWorks’ Federal Contractor Business Grows 75% in 2012 Fueled by Accelerating Industry Competition–Review and 2013 Plans

Do More With Less and Do More for Less

The new solutions and case studies are evidence of our core message to Federal Contractors which is how we enable them to Do More With Less (the competitive business value) and Do More For Less (our cost improvement value proposition).  As we invest in this area and “standardize” the solutions, our value proposition just gets stronger.

The key is that CorasWorks on SharePoint is a platform approach that is enabling Federal Contractors to get great leverage through a Shared Services model.  Once you have the platform in place, any and all of the solutions we offer or that you build can be dropped in, natively integrated, re-purposed, enhanced and extended.  It just works.

Make sure to look at the 2 case studies under “Shared Services Work Management Environments”.  These given a sense of how this approach has worked for a 1,000 person and a 20,000 person organization.

william

CorasWorks’ Federal Contractor Business Grows 75% in 2012 Fueled by Accelerating Industry Competition–Review and 2013 Plans

In 2012, we started our Federal Government Contractor practice.  Federal Contractors (including Aerospace & Defense providers) have been a significant part of CorasWorks’ business since we began in 2003.  In 2012, we created a dedicated team to focus on this industry and build and deliver industry specific solutions.  With the increased competition in this industry in recent years and the threat of the Fiscal Cliff and Sequestration in 2013 – we figured it was the perfect time to engage deeply and help our customers Do More for Less and drive their competitive position.  We focused on solutions for the internal operations of Federal Contractors.  In this article, I do a review of our work in this industry in 2012 and provide you with a heads up of our plans for 2013.

2012 in Review

  • Our business with Federal Government contractors for internal use grew 75%, making it our fastest growing industry segment last year
  • We served a broad group of Top 100 Federal Contractors such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Rockwell-Collins, HP Enterprise Services, Booz Allen Hamilton, BAE Systems, Serco, Chenega and Salient.
  • We focused our industry-specific solution investment in solutions for Business Development (BD) Operations, particularly IDIQ-based activities for Prime and Sub-contractors – a major area of intense competition in 2012 and going forward.
  • We expanded our BD solution set to integrate with existing Proposal Development applications and introduced solutions for Capture & Proposal Management providing comprehensive visibility and process management for BD operations
  • We began the process of cross-industry pollination, by bringing solutions from other industry customers into Federal Contractors such as Idea Challenge Management and Work Management for Engineering and Resource Planning and Program Management/Delivery based upon the CorasWorks Project Portfolio Management solution
  • We continued to expand our footprint in the Federal Government (Military and Civilian) with large deployments in the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines that enables Federal Contractors to leverage CorasWorks on SharePoint to deliver more competitive services and systems to their customers.

We learned a great deal more about the industry, the solutions, and the way of working within Federal Contractors over the year.  It is pretty clear that the internal operations of Federal Contractors have a lot of room to benefit by increased efficiency and effectiveness.  The BD area of IDIQ work was a real winner where most customers have a) older, legacy systems or b) nothing but email (NBE).  We’ve taken this segment to a new level in terms of lower cost and higher efficiency and effectiveness.  The best testament of our success with BD solutions and in other Federal Contractor business functions are our Customer Successes.  You can read about these by looking at articles of this blog (See Category of Federal Government Contractors, with 9 articles, or by a specific solution Category) or reading about our Solutions and Case Studies at our Federal Contractor micro-site of the CorasWorks web site.

What’s Ahead in 2013

Sequestration still looms. Continued increase in competition is a fact.  To help you compete, we are pushing our Collaborative Work Management solutions for Federal Contractors forward in 2013 in the following areas:

  • We will continue our focus on solutions for BD Operations.  Here you simply have to be at your best.  We will continue to move our IDIQ oriented solutions forward to make our customers the top in internal efficiency and effectiveness and the robustness of partner engagement.  We are also deepening our integration and support for Capture & Proposal Management activities and integration with third-party legacy applications for CRM (notably Deltek GovWin’s CRM), ERP, HR, and Contract Administration.
  • We are “verticalizing” the CorasWorks Project Portfolio Management solution to more specifically support work for Program Management, Delivery and Operations in Federal Contractors (what you do after you win the business – the downstream activities).
  • We are deepening our presence in the Engineering business function by bringing Engineering solutions from other industries into the Federal Contractor space, such as Engineering Work Management, Configuration Management, Idea and Innovation Management, Resource Planning and Demand Management.  This need is being accelerated as our customers start separating their services business from their systems businesses and are looking to set new benchmarks in the management of globally distributed engineering resources.
  • We will continue to expand our set of solutions for cross-functional activities with corporate functions such as HR, IT, Finance, and Legal and cross-pollinate these solutions into our customer base.
  • We are putting new programs in place to help our Federal Contractor customers build CorasWorks competencies internally that help them be more competitive when delivering solutions to Federal customers that leverage SharePoint – a growing segment of the services sector.

CorasWorks – At Your Service

In 2013, it is not going to get any easier to win business or deliver it profitably.  The way to succeed is by getting better and being more innovative.  As part of this we feel that you truly do need to a) eliminate the noise of redundant, ad hoc, wasted activity, b) break the silos, and c) provide the visibility and embedded collaboration to focus resources when and where you need it.

As innovative leaders in Collaborative Work Management solutions on SharePoint and with our focus on Federal Government Contractors we can help you get you where you want and need to be – more quickly, at less cost and with less risk.  We look forward to serving you in 2013.

william

$250M Federal Contractor Leverages CorasWorks to Bring Together Integrated Business Development System

This story gets to the heart of how CorasWorks can be leveraged to bring together distributed enterprise systems and integrate them to create a new corporate capability.  In the article, we’ll go through the steps of how a fast-growing $250 Million revenue Federal Contractor used CorasWorks to put in place an integrated work management system for Business Development.

The Situation

Over the last year, our customer started investing in, winning and acquiring a number of new IDIQs as a Prime Contractor. They see the IDIQ Prime vehicle as a key strategic revenue driver.  They wanted to put in place a way of working that would provide Program Managers with an efficient and effective way of managing Task Orders from these IDIQs to win business.  The ideal solution would allow them to support multiple different IDIQs that were managed in the business groups, yet, leverage a central Proposal Management center and other corporate systems.  They wanted the best of both worlds: centralized and distributed.

Like most Federal Government Contractors, they had a stable of the standard, siloed, departmentally managed systems.  The diagram below lays them out: CRM, Proposal Development, HR Recruiting/Resumes, and Contract Management.  The question was how could they implement a new capability for managing the IDIQs and Task Orders that would bring these different systems together into an integrated system.

 

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The Solution

The solution was to leverage CorasWorks on SharePoint.  CorasWorks v11 software and solutions were used to create the new core IDIQ Task Order Management system and to integrate, enhance and extend the other systems.  Microsoft SharePoint provides the foundation for data, security and administration.

How They Did It

The following goes through the sequence of steps of how they brought it all together.

Upgraded Proposal Development System

Their existing system was focused on the proposal development process based upon native SharePoint and the Lohfeld Consulting Group’s Capture & Proposal Management methodology.  They upgraded their existing system system to become a CorasWorks-based system while maintaining the Lohfeld methodology.  This new sub-system became more efficient and more easily opened up to integrate with the other elements of the overall system (see this article for the Top 7 Enhancements of Capture & Proposal Management Systems using CorasWorks).

Implement Core IDIQ Task Order Management System

They then implemented the standard CorasWorks IDIQ Task Order Management system on SharePoint.  This includes IDIQ Program Management sites for the Program Managers to manage the overall process and the integration working sites for each task order.  They also implemented a standard design for the Teaming Partner Portal and Engagement of Partners, and, set the standard for customer portals for reporting.

Integrating with GovWin CRM and Proposal Management

Next was the integration of the core systems that are part of the primary work stream.  In this case, they wanted to insure that their GovWin CRM was the source for all opportunities including new Task Orders. Leveraging CorasWorks the CRM opportunities were integrated into the IDIQ TOM system.  Then, instead of using separate Task Order working sites, they used the CorasWorks-based IDIQ TOM system to auto-provisioning working sites within the Proposal Management Center.  These working sites now became a mix between Task order working sites and Proposal Development sites so that they would have a single site that would support the life cycle of a Task Order.

Tying In Supporting Systems

The HR and Contract Management systems are supporting systems that are commonly leveraged during the process.  During the process of working on Task Orders and Proposals, they need to interact with the HR recruiting staff who leverages their custom HR resume system.  In addition, they integrated with their Contract Management system to access information and store completed contracts.

The Resulting System of Systems for BD

With the approach above, they successfully deployed this system of systems for Business Development and are off and running.  The Proposal Center manages more than 400 proposals/task orders per year.

The result is that the Program Manager is able to get a 360 degree view of an IDIQ and each Task Order from a single CorasWorks Console.  They can manage the process and access the relevant information in supporting systems.  In addition, a key element of the overall design is that they are able to rapidly create new IDIQ sub-systems that are tweaked to the needs of each Program Manager.  Thus, they do get the best of both worlds: a localized solution for each IDIQ and the centralized management of separate departmental systems.

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.

New IDIQ Prime Contractor Leverages CorasWorks to Jumpstart BD Operations Center

You are a multi-billion company selling sophisticated systems.  You do more than $1Billion/year in Federal business.  Now, your customers buying model shifts to multi-award IDIQs.  You could get locked out or marginalized.  You have to become an IDIQ Prime Contractor almost overnight.  You’re starting from scratch.  Here is the story of how one of our customers rapidly made the transition leveraging the full spectrum of CorasWorks resources and our ecosystem.

Situation

The customer is a multi-billion dollar provider of communications systems to commercial and federal customers.  Their Federal business is more than $1B/year primarily providing systems to the Military.  Up to now, their Federal business was obtained via single award prime contracts and as a sub-contractor to other primes.  Over the last couple of years, key customers have begun moving their procurement into new multi-award IDIQ vehicles.  In particular, one customer was creating an IDIQ Vehicle with a maximum of $10B over five years that would cover a good portion of their existing business.  The company decided to become a Prime Contractor for multiple IDIQs in order to maintain control over their customer opportunities and to expand their opportunity set for overall systems integration and solutions for many customers.

To support the new IDIQ Prime business, the customer required a very different approach to Business Development/Capture Operations.  They were now going to be in the Solution drivers seat integrating in elements from close Teaming Partners.  They’d have to turn around task order proposals in 30-90 days vs. a year.  Their objective was to support many IDIQ contracts as a Prime so they needed a flexible solution that would optimize the results for each IDIQ, yet, work as a single integrated system. This new system would be a dedicated Extranet that would tightly integrate Teaming Partners into the work-stream. In addition, since this was a new way of working they were looking for guidance from people who had done it before and they needed to get going in a matter of months.

Solution

The customer surveyed the market for solutions considering various COTS products that would need to be heavily customized and integrated.  They also considered designing and building what they needed from scratch.  They decided to go with CorasWorks for a number of reasons:

Collaboration Needs – they realized that this solution would be heavily collaborative amongst internal players and partners and saw the value of leveraging Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure

Trust of CorasWorks – they had been using CorasWorks on SharePoint for general internal operations for 3 years and trusted the software and company support

CorasWorks IDIQ Solution Framework – CorasWorks has a vertical practice in Federal Contractors and had existing customers leveraging it for IDIQ/GWAC Systems and could provide a solution framework to accelerate the project, reduce the cost, and, reduce the risk

CorasWorks Software Flexibility – they wanted the solution to be theirs.  It would enable a significant competitive advantage.  They wanted to be able to enhance, extend and maintain the software on their own as needed.

CorasWorks Ecosystem – the customer was able to leverage CorasWorks Professional Services and was able to tap existing CorasWorks customers for IDIQ operational guidance and CorasWorks partners for hands-on subject matter expertise

Less Time, Cost, Risk – based upon the above, they believed that their project could be delivered within the time and cost and at lower risk than other approaches and their cost to support and extend the solution was less than alternatives

Getting There

The core “build” project was scheduled for 8 weeks.  It would be a brand new Extranet environment built from the ground up.  It would include the standard CorasWorks IDIQ framework modules supporting IDIQ Program Management, specific IDIQ Vehicle and Task Order Management, Task Order-Proposal working sites, Partner Portal and partner working sites, and integration of shared master knowledge (Past Performance, Policies, Pricing, Forms, System information, etc.).  The approach was to focus on delivery a system supporting the first IDIQ ($10B over 5 years), yet, use a system design that would support many IDIQs.

Because of the strategic nature of this initiative, the customer did a few things differently.

Started with CorasWorks Training – before the project began the customer had 3 people from IT attend a custom CorasWorks training session.  They learned how to build with CorasWorks and how to leverage the CorasWorks IDIQ solution framework.  This prep work was important to make informed technical decisions and to provide the knowledge to reduce project cost and time and allow them to enhance and maintain the system going forward.

Tapping Customer IDIQ Operational Experience – the customer engaged an existing CorasWorks Federal Contractor who had been using a CorasWorks-based IDIQ/GWAC system for 7 years to manage 18 vehicles and 5,000 task orders.  From them, they gained the operational guidance and best practices to lay the foundation for their operations.

Joint Delivery Team – They created a joint delivery team consisting of CorasWorks Professional Services, a CorasWorks partner with hands-on experience with IDIQs in Federal Contractors, their trained internal IT, and, the business users. This team was to work on-site, for 6 weeks, in a focused, joint effort.

The Project Results

The 8 week build project went as planned.  They got the top down guidance they needed.  They used an iterative approach starting with general requirements, leveraging the CorasWorks IDIQ framework to lay down the base modules, and then, iterating it to satisfy the needs of the users.  Within 10 weeks the solution was in place, tested and accepted, and ready for operations.

The actual operations for their first IDIQ were not scheduled to begin for another 3 months.  They then turned to implementing their second IDIQ which is to go operational at about the same time.  This time, with the knowledge they had gained, they added the new IDIQ vehicle which was slightly different than the first and did the customization on their own over a the course of a few weeks.

Summary

It was a tall order.  This customer had to go from basically nothing to best-of-breed operational capabilities with a multi-IDIQ, tightly integrated, operations center, in a matter of months.  To get there, they leveraged CorasWorks to bring together the people and technology to meet their objective.  This is a solid start.

The reality is that this customer will learn a tremendous amount about running the IDIQ capture business as a Prime over the next 6-12 months.  That is where the real value of CorasWorks software’s flexibility comes in.  They will be able to take those lessons learned and best practices and enhance and extend the system to enable them to just get better and better at delivering results. In 12 months it will really be their system, and, serve as a core part of this new way of winning business.

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.

CorasWorks Solutions for Multi-Award IDIQ Prime Contractors

CorasWorks has an extensive customer base of Federal Government Contractors (see Federal Contractor micro-site on our web site).  We are used by them for internal operations, and, as part of their application delivery practices for solutions on SharePoint.  Recently, we’ve spent a lot of time working with the business development function of these customers to enhance their internal capabilities to win business.  Top of mind in BD these days is the ability to manage multi-award IDIQs as a Prime Contractor. Some are new to being a Prime Contractor, others have legacy systems that need enhancement or replacement to be competitive, and others, while not new to IDIQ prime contracts, are just beginning to move from Excel/Email chaos to an automated system.

We have provided solutions on SharePoint for IDIQ/GWAC BD since 2006 (see Case Study of IDIQ Center customer).  Over the years, the use of these vehicles has grown tremendously and the competition has increased.  With our new focus on solving this problem, we are raising the game and providing standardized yet flexible solutions that drive each customers’ competitive differentiation.

In this article I’ll drill down into the types of solutions we are delivering to address the needs of IDIQ Prime Contractors.  Our approach to this solution area is flexibility.  The “correct” solution simply varies. It depends on your experience, existing systems, success or failure to date, and also, on the fact that each IDIQ is different.  With that said, we have a standardized, modular, solution set that enables us to accommodate the different needs, but, do so in a standardized, cost efficient manner.

Solutions to Meet Different IDIQ Scenarios

We have seen 4 primary scenarios with Prime Contractors of Multi-Award IDIQs (and GWACs).  Accordingly, we have a standard “solution set” to address them.  Like any CorasWorks solution, each is very flexible and tailored to the needs of the scenario.  The scenarios and solutions are as follows:

  • IDIQ Task Order Management (TOM – Simple) – This is the core part of IDIQ/Task Order Management.  It is simple, extendable, but, very rich in its ability to automate activity and process around each task order and working with partners.  This is for organizations that are new to IDIQs as a first step towards automation.  It is also used for individual IDIQs that are new, not a high volume, or, not yet driving enough business to warrant “deeper” systems.
  • IDIQ PM (Deep – Single IDIQ) – This solution targets those Program Managers that are managing individual IDIQs at a “deep” level.  Typically, this is situation where you don’t want any Task Order opportunities to fall through the cracks.  They want a complete, integrated system where they manage the task orders, the proposal development, the partners, the knowledge such as past performance, and, all else.
  • IDIQ Center (Breadth – Multiple IDIQs/GWACs) – This solution is for those organizations that want to manage multiple-IDIQs/GWACs that are high-volume.  It is typically a replacement for or a new IDIQ/GWAC center where the work does not involve managing the responses but does require the overall reporting.
  • IDIQ Integrated (Breadth and Depth) – This is typically a distributed system where you support both breadth and depth scenarios together.  They are typically separate, but they work in concert, and, allow each group (IDIQ Center Management and specific IDIQ PM) to optimize their work.

 

Solution Modules

We deliver our solutions for IDIQ management on SharePoint.  Thus, by design they are distributed systems with many sites – each serving their purpose and supporting a principal user role.  The secret sauce with CorasWorks is the ability to tie all of the elements into an integrated system that allows users to work from one place with the information they need at their fingertips.  Our design works very well to balance the need for IDIQ specific depth with the desire to see a full picture of the activity across all IDIQs (and for all BD work).

Accordingly, we provide a set of modules that can be implemented as needed.  Each has its purpose.  Each can be easily modified or enhanced as needed.  This is cost-effective and gives you the flexibility to innovate as your need it.  The following table list each of the standard modules and the scenarios where they are most commonly used.

IDIQ Module Matrix -126

Click image to enlarge.

Below is a brief description of each module:

  • IDIQ Program Management – For the management of a specific IDIQ vehicle and its Task Orders.  This uses a stage-gate process through which each Task Order passes.  This module drives notifications, activities, and workflow such as Bid/No Bid decisions and Partner Surveys.  Click here to see a screenshot with a brief example in an article I wrote about stage-gate processes.  In addition, it supports the overall management of the IDIQ vehicle including partners, knowledge repositories, reporting and administration.
  • Task Order Site(s) – At a point in the Task Order life-cycle, these sites are auto-provisioned to contain the core Task Order request documents and support collaboration.  Usually, they are not highly structured. They are integrated with the Program Management site.
  • Combo Task Order/Proposal Development Site(s) – In lieu of the above, for depth scenarios the sites provisioned are designed with structure to support a much more evolved proposal development process incorporating task management, color reviews, supporting business processes and access to knowledge repositories.
  • Partner Portal – This is the main portal accesses by partners to respond to task order surveys, post opportunities, and/or participate in proposal development.
  • Partner Site(s) – In depth scenarios, teaming partners will often have their own “private” sites so that they can be deeply engaged in proposal development, opportunity management, and supporting activities.
  • Knowledge Repositories (Shared) –Most systems have a number of shared repositories such as Past Performance, specific IDIQ forms, policies, and information, and overall BD forms, policies and information.  CorasWorks enables users to access and “fetch” these repositories while working in each Task Order/Proposal Development site.
  • IDIQ Portfolio Management – This provides customizable overall reporting and analytics in a dashboard style with the ability  to drill down as needed.
  • Public Web Site Integration – This allows you to dynamically update web sites (SharePoint based or note) while maintaining the information within the system.
  • Customer Portal(s) – You can have a portal for each customer of an IDIQ where the information/reports are made available to them from across the environment and/that enables the customer to interact.
  • Supporting Process Modules – CorasWorks has a robust notification/workflow/process framework enabling you to drive supporting processes from any of the modules.  Examples are Bid and Proposal Budget Requests, HR Staffing Requests and Salary Approvals, Organizational Conflict of Interest Checking, and, At Risk Authorizations.  As part of this feature we often deploy new sites for different business functions to consolidate and manage requests.  An example would be an HR Site where staffing requests come in from multiple task orders across multiple IDIQs.
  • CRM-ERP-HR Integration – CorasWorks has a robust two-way integration framework.  Most commonly we integrate with CRM systems such as Deltek GovWin CRM, Salesforce.com, Oracle Siebel, Microsoft CRM.  We also integrate with HR systems such as Taleo and Peoplesoft and ERPs such as SAP and Deltek CostPoint.

Getting You Your Solution

It just depends on who you are and what you need.  With CorasWorks your organization could use all of the above 4 scenarios over time.  Our uniquely flexible approach allows us to accommodate your needs as they appear..  We have a single Solution Platform (now in v11) that runs on SharePoint.  Then, you just add the solutions you need and custom tailor them.  It all runs on top of SharePoint.

For instance, you might have 4 different program managers that want to take slightly different approaches or are forced to based upon unique IDIQ requirements or their partnering requirements.  This can be accommodated using the same software (and effectively sharing costs).  Or, from the beginning you can design things so that management can get an overall picture of activity – alternatively, this integrated portfolio dashboard can be added later.  Or, you may even realize that while you are at it, it would be very useful to build out an entire new centralized Proposal Center using CorasWorks (see case study), and, get an overall view of all BD Operations’ activity.  No problem.  The key is that CorasWorks is designed to enable your system to evolve as needed.

It all starts with us understanding where you are and where you want to go.  We have a standard discovery process to help you ask the right questions.  We also have various demonstrations of different approaches.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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.