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Simplify Federal Acquisition Processes with Automation Solutions

Ben Allen, Vice President, Public Sector Solutions
September 8, 2020

Recently my son asked for a new video game. I get this request fairly often, so I decided to test how badly he really wanted it. I asked for a brief write-up explaining why he wanted to buy it. Because he's used to my strange requests and adding absurd obstacles to simple processes, he agreed.

After less than an hour, I received a decently crafted document for my immediate review. But to further test his commitment, I added comments where I wanted to see more detail. He dutifully revised the document. Next I requested price estimates, checking against Best-in-Class Vehicles (Target), and an approval from the Head of the Contracting Activity (me). He returned minutes later saying, "Quit messing with me and just buy it already."

I tell this story not to make you question my parenting skills (although I won't hold it against you if you do) but to highlight the plight of the government program offices trying to initiate a purchase. Like my son in our video game exercise, they often face unclear processes and a seemingly endless series of documents to prepare, revisions, new requests, and unexpected approvals to obtain. Meanwhile contracting teams feel equally frustrated because they need the requirement documented and approved in a way that complies with policies and regulations so they can do their job.

That's why I'm so excited about the Appian Requirements Management Solution. It demystifies the acquisition process, clearly providing a list of data elements, documents, approvals, and dates based on what the customer is buying. When templates are required, the application puts the most recent template at their fingertips, with data pre-populated based on information they've already provided. Contracting teams benefit from a compliant requirements package with fewer revisions. And if revisions are required, that collaboration happens directly in the application--it's not lost in emails or in documents stored across different shared drives.

Because the solution is created on the Appian platform, customers benefit from native artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). This full stack enables functionality for automatically classifying requirements, auto-filing documents, suggesting procurement paths, and integrating with federal sites and applications that lack modern integration capabilities. That's in addition to all the federal and customer legacy applications Appian integrates with natively, including SAM, FPDS-NG, USASpending, Office 365, Sharepoint, and Docusign. The end result: fewer low-value tasks and more time to focus on higher-value work.

Since Appian designed the Requirements Management Solution to address program office and contracting processes, both groups can collaborate on the same requirement in a single application. This alleviates the need to work across documents, email, or separate applications. Organizations can store all data and communication in one place--which helps tremendously when agencies reassign a requirement or a new member joins the team mid-workstream. Teams no longer have to sort through old emails or versions of documents to gain the context they need to move forward.

A well-defined requirement, early in the process, is key to smooth acquisition and successful outcomes. The Appian Requirements Management Solution makes the requirements process easier to understand and track and removes administrative burden, so organizations can spend more resources defining requirements instead of simply documenting them. If only Appian offered a home version for families!

Ready to learn more? Check out Appian's Government Acquisition Requirements Management Solution.