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Requirements Management in Government Acquisitions: 4 Must-Have Capabilities

Ken Valle, Solutions Success Manager
April 5, 2023

In a recent blog, we identified several challenges in federal government acquisition and how to overcome them. We mentioned how a modern requirements management solution leverages advanced technology to make meeting the exacting needs of federal acquisition faster and easier.

To modernize and streamline your requirements management process, look for these four vital technology components in a requirements management application:

1. Unified view of data.

The requirements definition portion of the government acquisition process requires a solution that is able to access and unify data from multiple systems to provide a single source of truth. For example, it might need to pull purchase requisition data from a financial system and push information from the requirements package into the contract writing system to develop the solicitation or issue an award from an existing contract vehicle.

[ Learn more about improving your acquisitions process. Get the eBook: Streamlining Government Procurement with a Modern Acquisition Management Solution. ]

Without a tool that has data fabric capabilities to integrate multiple systems in a single view, the acquisition professional needs to rekey duplicate information while switching between screens—which is tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone.

A modern requirements management tool should rapidly pull data from external sources and display it for the end user. As the tool collects the data, it gathers enough information to develop meaningful reports. A modern system should track all known information about a business requirement, like the type, key dates, funding information, and priority. It should trace all documents associated with a business requirement in a single record and provide instantaneous access to reports based on this data.

[ Want to learn more about how to solve your data silo problems and speed up innovation? Get the eBook: The Data Fabric Advantage. ]

2. Intelligent process automation.

The ideal requirements management application should provide as much process automation as possible to streamline the work and increase end-user adoption. It should auto-populate information that it’s already tracking or that’s known from other systems. For example, when you sign in, the system should know who you are, which agency you support, your role, etc. The system should be intelligent enough to automatically fill in this information when you are processing a business requirement.

Document management automation capabilities are key to any modern solution. The tool should assist with the generation of documents such as capabilities statements, statements of work, and statements of objectives. It should also support automated document processing and intelligently file documents in the contract file based on configurable rules that are managed by the agency

Automating workflows through business rules is another critical feature of a modern requirements management solution. Automatically assigning the correct reviewers based on requirement details (e.g., requirement type, cost, PSC code, etc.) streamlines and accelerates the requirements management process. This is especially useful for compliance at agencies with stringent review policies.

Another important feature is to automatically recommend a checklist that standardizes the requirements management process and is tailored to the details of the requirement. The software should bring the right checklist for the project type (e.g., IT, construction, support services, etc.).

Finally, automating processes improves compliance by standardizing them according to required procedures and making the information reportable at all levels of the organization.

3. Continuous process improvement.

Many tools provide and track standard workflows. But a modern, differentiated tool facilitates continuous improvement through process mining, ideally on the same platform as the workflow automation tool.

A process mining tool should uncover processes with longer than expected lead times, which should be investigated and, if possible, automated or streamlined by the application. The process mining tool should apply an agile approach to prioritize processes that have the most impact.

You can also use process mining to monitor and control processes after the initial optimization project is completed and alert users if processes are experiencing unexpected delays. Process mining reduces overall procurement action lead time (PALT) by removing inefficiencies and adding automation to streamline workflows.

4. An intuitive interface that’s accessible to all.

Let’s face it. If an application isn’t easy to use, no one is going to use it. 

An intuitive system reduces training time and increases end-user adoption. The interface should follow best practices to ensure the user knows exactly where they are in the requirements development process.

Requirements-gathering is highly collaborative, involving many participants and approvals. Many acquisition tools focus on the contracting function but do not bring in other relevant parties. Giving government agencies a requirements management tool that tracks all steps in a single system and accommodates all participants is a huge difference-maker.

In addition, a modern requirements tool should present only the information that is relevant to the participant. For example, the program office should be able to create a new requirement and view all requirements that are relevant to their office. The same is true for other groups, such as policy and legal. A modern solution should allow these groups to see the work that is in their queue and where a requirement is at any moment.

Use a modern procurement solution.

Appian delivers the only complete and modern procurement solution suite designed for the unique workflow and compliance needs of government agencies. The Appian Requirements Management application offers intelligent requirements gathering to comply with federal regulations and mission mandates.

Developed on the Appian Platform for process automation, the solution kick-starts acquisitions by automatically providing the requirements documents you need and automating as many processes as possible (including filling in documents with any known information), all in accordance with your specific policies and regulations.

The intuitive interface, with information presented to each user as needed and wizards that guide the users through their tasks, reduces the need for training and increases ease of adoption.

Appian’s data fabric unifies the data from all your systems to eliminate manual rekeying, simplify reporting, and provide complete visibility into the requirements management workflow. Since it integrates with virtually any application, it extends the life of your legacy systems. It also integrates out of the box with business intelligence tools like Tableau and PowerBI.

And finally, Appian’s process mining capabilities identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, uncover their root causes, and remedy the issues by adding automation wherever possible. Continuously streamlining the process reduces PALT, leading to faster receipt of goods or services. And the data captured from process mining can be used to track the success of process improvement initiatives.

Check out the demo of the Appian Requirement Management tool in the webinar, Modernizing Federal Acquisitions with Appian’s New Requirements Management Application.