OAS Enterprise (OAS) features support the complex needs of even our largest customers. However, because many of these features are often built in, automated, or simply easy to use, their importance can be easily underestimated.
Let’s review some of these features to get a better understanding of how they support complex needs. Within each feature review, we will also take a brief look at our newest or planned enhancements (enhancements will be discussed in more detail in future articles):
- OAS Structure
- Vendor Management
- Automated Management
The OAS structure defines how data is captured, stored, and presented so that it is of greatest value to users.
Once entered into OAS:
- All order detail is accessible by selecting an order number
- All spending data can be summarized in reports for every level of the organization
These reports facilitate general management, accountability, transparency, and planning through oversight activities (e.g., audits). More importantly, they promote organizational insight by making OAS a working tool for local control and action.
Even the most complex Program Office projects benefit from structured reporting that accesses the status of spending against budget in real time for any or all projects/levels within any major program.
Structure - Following are planned enhancements:
- Ability to create a more customized set of entities, including sub-entities, that can link organizational structure as desired and present results on a more granular level, including across associated programs
- Workflows that link local and remote stakeholders to process transactions
The OAS Workflow feature enables customers to establish routings and approvals that insure handling any type of transaction exactly as required by policy/procedure.
Workflows supports a wide range of actions, such as:
- Multiple levels of approval for larger transactions
- Additional approvals for products or services that require technical review
- Input by employees with specific responsibilities, such as computer purchases
- Approval by budget personnel to validate/assign funds
- Processing and approval of standard forms such as Technical Instructions that allocate budgeted funding to individual actions for enhanced accountability
All routing activities are summarized in the order processing summary screen and retained as a complete record of all actions and approvals.
Workflow makes all modules and features more customizable and efficient, and we recently made it easier for users to create their own Workflows
Workflow - Following is a planned enhancement:
- Expanded set of conditions under which Workflows can support a wider range of business rules and processes
Projects is a prime feature for all spending and management control since every order, and associated budget funds, are associated to a project.
At any time, you can see how much was budgeted to the Project, how much is in-process, and how much is available. All spending information is available in real time in the Project folder, which serves as an electronic file for all supporting documentation.
Multiple tiers of Projects in a parent/child relationship enable availability of all related data for any combination of projects within an overall program.
Like Workflow, Projects is a feature that can support the largest and most complex requirements, yet the Projects function itself is simple to use and can reduce the perception of complexity for unique modules such as Program Management.
Projects - Following are planned enhancements:
- Faster contract closeouts
- New project management capabilities
- Parent-child project information graphic for better project/program management
OAS provides reporting capabilities throughout its modules. The data is in real time so it is relevant and actionable. Following are a few ways to access and review data:
- OAS data on orders and invoices can be filtered to focus on target data that address specific issues
- Complete data on each order or invoice is then available to drill down to specifics with a click
- Selected data can be downloaded to Excel for further analysis
The uses of OAS data include:
- Review of comparative performance by buyer, contracting officer, organization, vendor, contract, and more
- Identify and investigate abnormal data items or data sets
- Identify training issues
- Prepare reports
- Support audit findings
Reporting - Following are planned enhancements:
- Improved record searches (increases the number of data fields that can be accessed and analyzed)
- Open Acquisition Reporting System (OARS) (will enable creation of reports from both internal and external data sources)
- Dashboards that present data in graphical format and enable retrieval of details with a click in the graphic element
- Increased data analytics capabilities
OAS collects vendor data that helps both buyers and vendors.
A strong vendor list is a valuable asset to any organization, and OAS provides the tools that enhance vendor capabilities.
Vendor Management - Following are planned enhancements:
- Standalone OAS Vendor Portal for enhanced functionality and system security
- External Vendor Verification System
- Manage multi-award (and multi-vendor) contracts
- Provide integration layer to support integration between OAS and multiple external payment systems
OAS provides features to help you manage procurement as an automated system and makes individual modules simpler to use.
Because OAS is a system it links data from one module to another as defined by system requirements. This has several benefits including:
- As previously mentioned, you can view all orders, completed or in process, and view progress of spending against project funding. Just a few clicks and the system takes you from projects to orders to funding to spending to details, and even a copy of the order form itself. All of this is done with a few clicks.
- Data entered in OAS can be mapped to any form in the customized forms library to automate form preparation. Map something once and OAS populates the form without manual intervention. OAS also automatically maps entered data to succeeding activities thereby limiting data entry and greatly reducing errors.
- OAS provides built-in data and calculation checks for accuracy and efficiency. Automated built-in alarms and repeat reminders act as guarantees that required actions are taken in timely manner. Spending management is built in using several methods, including suspension of orders in process if funds are not available. OAS even limits adding new funding to stated policy and as set up in the individual user’s permissions.
- OAS has built-in features that insure that management’s intentions are achieved, and documented for future review. An example is a Statement of Need (SON):
- The SON defines the organization’s initial attempt at specifying the exact requirement.
- Workflows insure all stakeholders get to review, input, and approve/reject the stated need so that further action does not progress without the agreement of all parties.
- The SON, plus all factors required to effectively evaluate vendor bids/responses are made a part of the quote or solicitation request.
- Evaluation is made against those factors and are conveyed to potential bidders by the solicitation request so that an objective and fair evaluation is made.
- Lastly, the decision maker insures a statement is entered in OAS that makes it clear why the specific vendor was selected. All this is built into OAS, but much is customizable based on complexity of the requirement.
Automated Management - Following are planned enhancements:
- Configurable automated procurement compliance validator tool