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Government Contract Management Conference: Key Issues in Federal Acquisition (Part 2)

Ben Allen, Vice President, Public Sector Solutions
November 22, 2011

In continuing my review of the hot topics at the recent National Contract Management Association's (NCMA) Government Contract Management Conference, next up is the issue of Data Quality & Standardization.

This has become a key initiative inside the DoD acquisition community. It was very interesting to hear Nancy Gunderson's (HHS) comments regarding the subject from the civilian agency side. One of her comments was that we're only as credible as our data, and that the demand for data and transparency will only increase.

I think Nancy is absolutely right and I wouldn't be surprised to see civilian agencies adapt a procurement data standard similar to the one put forth by DPAP (Defense Procurement Acquisition Policy). The DPAP Procurement Data Standard (PDS) is laying the groundwork for sharing acquisition data between the multiple government reporting systems as well as providing a standard for sharing data between systems involved in the acquisition process.

Appian's BPM software suite is perfectly suited to take full advantage of a procurement data standard. In fact, the Appian system allows you to define custom data types, such as a line item, by simply importing the PDS xsd definition of a line item directly from the DPAP website. No custom coding is required and the database storage for the data type can automatically be configured by the Appian system. When it comes time to share the data, Appian provides built-in web service nodes that can be configured to point to other government systems. Again, all without requiring any coding or costly customization. The future of acquisition data is well-defined standards, with data shared across multiple government systems to provide transparency and credibility to the process. The Appian suite, and our Acquisition Business Management solution, are ready to provide this to government contracting organizations now.

-Ben Allen, Appian Professional Services