Our customer, a worldwide government contract company, is a consortium of recognized intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) interoperability experts, that are focused on providing objective analysis and recommendations to customers worldwide to enhance capabilities, streamline processes, and reduce life-cycle costs. While the company is an expert in ISR Interoperability SET and GEOINT standard and policy development, the team did not have a depth of knowledge in proposal and contracts management. The customer wanted to create a formal proposal management team; as well as to define an efficient and repeatable proposal development process. The customer also wanted to create a process that would ensure the effective management of the acquired contracts and provide operational support needed throughout each contract. Without any prior knowledge of these various process and tools, the customer sought out i3solutions to help mature its processes and to implement a technical system to ensure the future and continuing success of the customer.
i3solutions delivered a two-part solution to meet the multi-faceted needs for the customer. First, i3solutions worked with the internal stakeholders to create a robust and effective Proposal Management and Contracts Management Process. i3solutions also provided an experienced Proposal Manager who could impart both technical and professional expertise directly to the customer’s team. This comprehensive solution enabled the customer to move forward with confidence in its ability to successfully respond to proposals. In addition, the new processes also provided the standards and discipline for its internal staff to manage their new contracts. i3solutions also provided a Proposal Manager to work directly with the business development team during an actual proposal response. This allowed the i3solutions Proposal Manager to reinforce the new processes and stages while also providing real-time best practices and advice during a large RFP response. The knowledge and technical support that i3solutions provided helped the customer adapt more quickly to the proposal management process and helped to increase the adoption of these new solutions.
Next, i3solutions leveraged our extensive expertise with proposal management to create a new cloud based proposal management tool on the Microsoft Office 365 platform. Using SharePoint online, i3solutions created new proposal collaboration sites so its dispersed business development teams could leverage a centralized location to share and generate proposal materials. These proposal sites provided a cloud-based repository of proposal artifacts so that teams can focus on creating compelling proposal content rather than wasting time tracking down information and reinventing the wheel. The new solution also included templates to support different types of proposal responses to ensure that the customer would have a solid standard in place and a repository to store the right materials for a specific type of response. Another benefit of Office 365 was the improved team communications using Lync. Lync allowed the customer to message team members in real-time, video conference, views availability and track schedules, and maintain geographically dispersed contacts. To ensure sensitive information was protected, i3solutions configured the SharePoint permissions to ensure users can only see the proper information. Finally, i3solutions provided comprehensive SharePoint training and documentation to help the customer’s team become familiar and self-sufficient with the Office 365 platform moving forward.
The new proposal processes and web-based solution provided the customer with an immediate and significant return on investment. i3solutions created an entire process, where there once was none, for the customer to manage both proposals and future contracts. The customer now has one central location to store all the documents which has significantly reduced duplication and level of effort required for the proposals. Team members no longer waste several cycles through emails and conference calls to track the progress and the versions.
Using Office 365 – Lync, and Co-authoring, this new system helped the team save enormous amounts of time and, ultimately, money. The new proposal management solution also made it easier to create a functioning project team out of a disparate group of employees, remote contractors and external organizations to response cohesively to an RFP. Finally, the flexibility of this solution has enabled the customer to continually improve its proposal management process and modify the system as the needs of the organization change.