Tag Archive for Task Order Management

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.

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

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.

Federal Contractor Driving $800 Million Business with CorasWorks-based IDIQ Task Order Management System

The Federal Contracting business is very competitive and is getting more so.  A key mission critical business function is the winning of contracts, and, the winning of the right contracts that can be profitably delivered.  Over the last 5 years the use of IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery – Indefinite Quantity) contracts has dramatically grown – particularly for the procurement of information technology and services.   One of the top 20 Federal Contractors has been using a CorasWorks-based system running on Microsoft SharePoint for 6 years to manage their IDIQ-based business.  They started with one IDIQ vehicle and are now managing 14 IDIQ vehicles, 5,000 task order opportunities, and, have driven $800 million in business.  This article will drill down into this customers’ system and their business.

The Challenge

IDIQs are a primary vehicle for the Federal Government to contract for work in IT and related services. In 2011, 30% of all contracts in this space were based upon IDIQ vehicles, representing about $40 Billion.  The 5 year projection is an increase in the use of IDIQs to over 70%.  With IDIQs, the contractor bids to become an authorized vendor for a specific IDIQ vehicle.  This gets them no business, but, it gives them the right to bid for business among the select vendors for that IDIQ. Then, they need to manage and compete on each Task Order that the government releases and win the business.  Task Orders are usually many millions of dollars and span years.  Accordingly, the challenge for these systems is that they are both high volume and they require very detailed management throughout the life cycle of Task Orders.

Our customer wanted a system that would allow them to drive revenue, at high efficiencies, and that was effective at winning the right business (that which is profitable for them).  In addition, they wanted a system that was customizable to their needs so that they could continuously innovate to maintain a competitive advantage.  In addition, in this solution space there are a number of distinct challenges as follows:

  • each IDIQ has different requirements which need to be supported by the system
  • there is a high volume of Task Orders that need to be sorted, prioritized and managed closely – miss a date or a requirements and you are out>
  • each Task Order is different and needs to be managed separately with a process to determine whether to bid on it or not
  • the turnaround time to bid over the years has gotten shorter
  • many Federal agencies or specific Task Orders require teaming partners (small business, women owned, etc.) that are part of the bid, thus, the teaming partners need to have access to information and participate in the process and the delivery – thus security must be tightly managed

 

The Story, the Solution and the Business

Back in 2006, the customer won a single IDIQ (along with 10+ other vendors) that projected $10 Billion of Task Orders over 10 years.  They wanted a solution to manage the work.  They looked at various Project Management systems such as Primavera.  However, they believed that the IDIQ vehicle approach was going to grow in popularity and they wanted a system that would allow them to continuously innovate to competitively differentiate themselves.  Thus, they looked for a COTS product that was very flexible to build their own unique solution.  They selected CorasWorks running on Microsoft SharePoint 2003.

According to the customer, they built the initial system in a fraction of the cost and time of buying the COTS solution and trying to customize it to their needs.  They did this relying on their internal subject matter expertise and leveraging the CorasWorks product and CorasWorks training.  The key is that the customer a) was the subject matter expert, and b) the “builders” of the system.  Using CorasWorks, they were able to “build” the system and innovate without requiring custom compiled code.

Over the last 6 years, that single IDIQ has generated $250+ Million in business in 80+ won Task Orders.  They used the system to purposely bid less than 10% of the 2,000+ Task Orders that were released under this IDIQ to maintain high win rates and make sure that they were doing the business in their profitable “sweet spot”.

Over the years, they continued to innovate and improve the core system. They also migrated the system to SharePoint 2007 and multiple releases of the CorasWorks solution platform to continue to drive innovation. About 3 years ago, their was an enterprise reorganization.  Given the success of their IDIQ TOM system for the initial IDIQ it was decided to consolidate IDIQ operations across programs/practices within this team.  They have since grown to manage 14 different IDIQ vehicles and all of the Task Orders through this CorasWorks-based system on SharePoint.

The current state of the business is as follows:

  • The team/system manages 14 different IDIQ vehicles (including some GWAC contracts) and all of the task orders
  • They have processed and managed 5,000 task orders since 2006
  • They bid about 10% of the task orders received and have 300 active orders 
  • They have driven $800 Million of business
  • They have 250 teaming partners
  • Teaming partners have access to the Task Orders that they have teamed on through the proposal process and forward if the Task Order is won
  • Each Task Order ever issued is tracked for historical reasons
  • The system supports Opportunity Management so that the customer and their Teaming Partners can work on customer opportunities and then drive the process of getting Task Orders issued

The core modules of this system are as follows:

  • IDIQ Portal and Portfolio Management – looking across all 14 IDIQs and reporting on operations
  • IDIQ Task Order Management – process to manage capture, Bid/No Bid decision and full life cycle of Task Orders for each IDIQ
  • Task Order sites – one for each Task Order where information is stored, proposals are managed, status is updated and participants (including Teaming Partners) collaborate – throughout the life cycle of the Task Order
  • Teaming Partner Extranet and Partner Sites – where Teaming Partner go to access partner specific information, submit interest in participating on a Task Order, submit opportunities, access Task Order sites.

Here are some details on the overall scope of the system and some key features:

  • Every task order has a site that is automatically provisioned.  There are 1,000 active sites and a few thousand archived sites in the system.
  • There are 250 different Partner sites providing them with their place through which to work with the customer across IDIQs and Task Orders
  • Security is a key part of the system.  By separating each Task Order into a SharePoint site, the customer has a simpler way to manage security vs. attempting to use a role based approach with complex security.
  • The historical data, particularly the No Bid decision and explanation, is important to determine which Task Orders they bid on and also enabling them to return to rebid when the opportunity arises.
  • The opportunity management sub-system enables teaming partners to bring the opportunities to them, which they jointly pursue, and then, push through the appropriate IDIQ vehicle
  • The system is managed by two Technical people and the there are three Task Order Managers that do the functional work
  • The separate business groups that the team/system serve manage three elements using their own tools: large Proposal Development, Project Delivery, and Customer Portal(s).
  • The customer is planning to migrate the system to SharePoint 2010 this year and to take advantage of the CorasWorks “advanced” capabilities of version 11 to continue their innovation.  When done, over 7 years, they will have evolved the system across three cycles of the SharePoint platform (2003, 2007, 2010) and more than 7 versions of the CorasWorks solution platform.

 

My Comments on this Solution

This is a very valuable mission critical system – arguably the key type of system for Federal Contractors in the IT/Services space given the growing use of the IDIQ vehicle.  Note that while the use of the IDIQ vehicle is growing dramatically, the overall IT/Services spending is barely growing.  Thus, the Federal Contractors are fighting it out within a pie that isn’t growing – if you win, your competitor loses.  Having a system that gives you a competitive advantage for the type of business you want to win is simply core to winning this game.  With CorasWorks, this customer got what they needed.

It is a big system, based upon the vast number of sites.  However, in many key ways its design is simple.  This simplicity is important to drive efficiencies and to be able to effectively maintain the system – most importantly the security framework.  Complex security designs are subject to human error.  This design makes it far easier to get right.

The managers of this system/business function, two key people, have continuously driven this system forward over the last 6 years.  Their experiences and lessons learned are continuously built back into the system.  They just keep getting better and the results of the system get better.  The CorasWorks product and support services are ideally suited to this type of situation where the customer wants a competitive advantage and has the will and skill to build it out with our support. 

This particular customer could also use CorasWorks for some other core IDIQ system elements, in particular, large Proposal Development, Project Delivery, and Customer Portal(s).  However, since this is a very big organization with this operation spanning multiple organizational groups, at this time, each group uses its own tools to do these three things.  They are looking into providing CorasWorks solutions for these as opt-in additional services to the business groups.

The overall design of this IDIQ Task Order Management system is what I refer to as a Broad, Distributed Work System (see my intro article Putting SharePoint to Work).  This type of system is incredibly well suited to a SharePoint environment.  In fact, it is hard to imagine designing and building such a distributed system on an alternative platform.  The features and benefits of this system in terms of flexibility, maintenance, efficiency and business effectiveness would be tough to match.

It is interesting to note that this system is effectively a single app.  It is really large and its impact is critical.  Many SharePoint customers talk about the challenge of managing lots and lots of sites that aren’t used -  a feeling of chaos.  However, in this case all of those sites are part of a single, inter-connected, system.  The overhead of many sites actually increases the efficiency, effectiveness, and security of the business and every site has its purpose.

Regards,

William

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

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