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.
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
- 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.