nGAP Announces OAS Enterprise
nGAP announces the fulfillment of its vision for comprehensive acquisition lifecycle management. The Open Acquisition System (OAS) is now OAS Enterprise.
In addition to addressing the range of functionality needed to support the full acquisition lifecycle, Enterprise supports individual acquisitions regardless as to size or complexity.
Comprehensive Acquisition Lifecycle Management
Figure 1 presents acquisition activities as a continuous loop. At the completion of the year’s acquisition cycle, data from that year’s contract activity feeds the next budget cycle as input to acquisition activities necessary to implement the following year’s acquisitions.Figure 1
For organizations with large and complex requirements, activities often start with strategic inputs from the organization’s Budget and Program Offices. These inputs result in a list of Contracting Opportunities. Market Research then helps define contract requirements and source selection criteria for each opportunity.
At this point, Enterprise Contract Repository functionality helps locate an existing contract that best meets requirement criteria. Multiple government sites, such as contractdirectory.gov, list existing contracts that can be used by agencies outside the contract-issuing department. Contract Repository functionality can also help qualify suppliers when factors other than price are most important.
If an existing contract cannot be found one will have to be created, and Enterprise will help create a contract that meets criteria defined by Market Research.
A Document-Based Structure
It is at this point where an observer can begin to see how Enterprise’s integrated solution operates as a series of processes, fueled by a virtually unlimited number of templates and documents, united by collaborative features such as WorkFlows, attachments, and communications tools.
This flexible document-based structure is at the center of Enterprise’s vision of comprehensive acquisition management. A document-based structure enables creating new documents or editing existing ones in order to customize Enterprise to any set of regulations or policies. There is minimal time-consuming coding and testing required. Templates contain all relevant regulations and policies of a specific organization. The user simply selects from among the provided regulation statements, or creates their own statements after reviewing relevant regulation text on a subject included in the template. All text selected or created is linked so it can be included in a document derived from the template. The document is then automatically included in required elements of the acquisition (e.g., solicitation, contract, etc.). Documents or portions of documents are linked by Enterprise to wherever that content is needed throughout the entire acquisition process. This re-use of data minimizes work and errors.
Large and complex contracts are produced in a similar manner. Using the Uniform Contract Format (UCF) or other desired contract format, Enterprise is able to define all required contract sections for virtually any type of contract. It’s as simple as selecting which sections are required for the contract, in what sequence they should appear, and then prepare templates to create each section. Enterprise virtually puts the contract together for you.
Enterprise’s document-based structure enables it to create functionality to support the largest and most complex contract requirements. For example, major weapons and construction-related programs can involve billions of dollars in funds.
A major challenge occurs because those billions of dollars are estimates of the TOTAL funding expected. The assignment of actual funding to the various sub-projects that make up the entirety of the program is something that lacks definition in the beginning but evolves over time. To accommodate this evolution of funds assignment, contracts can include well over 100 significant modifications. A good part of these modifications is the distribution of funds to contract line items as work requirements begin to take shape due to efforts of project team members. Each of hundreds of modifications could include hundreds of funding allocations to hundreds of sub-lines, or SLINs.
To add an additional layer of complexity, no one actually builds a major construction or weapons system by simply buying products or performing services based on a large list of line items. Rather, additional instructions are required that define in detail each portion of work that actually needs to be done. These instructions include funding associated with a number of SLINs that are associated to each sub-project.
Tracking and reconciling the funding and how the funds are actually spent are major challenges. Enterprise addresses these challenges with Program Management functionality based on a hierarchical project feature that consolidates parent/child projects in a way that tracks and manages funding and spending for any combination of related projects. Reports generated using this hierarchical data structure enables insight into all financial and acquisition activities in real time.
Of course, Enterprise continues to support the many reasons OAS has been attractive to users for years:
- Reduced costs of processing transactions
- Minimized fraud/waste/abuse
- Lower prices on purchases using OAS features
- Real time accountability and transparency
Enterprise also offers many new features, some of which include:
- Improved acquisitions through formal Acquisition Planning
- Enhanced solicitation evaluation functionality
- External posting of solicitations to public sites
- Purchase Requisition feature for improved processing of simpler transactions
- Improved look and feel; ease-of-use enhancements
Each of these new features can consume multiple pages of comment, and will be the subjects of future bulletins.
OAS Enterprise has set a new standard for acquisition:
- Full acquisition lifecycle functionality
- Large, complex acquisitions support
- Simplicity and flexibility with best-in-class ease-of-use
Organizations with unique acquisition solution requirements are invited to contact nGAP to see how Enterprise can accommodate their special requirements. Please contact: