Carol Craig for Washington Technology
March 31, 2016
Anyone reading this column understands all too well the
challenges that come along with pursuing and acquiring government contracts.
There are common pain points that every government contractor experiences -
primarily tied to time, money and staff resources - but few innovations to
solve these issues. Yet, those three challenges can determine the success or
failure of a business.
Those of us that have walked the halls of nearly any federal
agency, Congress or even a state legislative offices know that - from dated
technology to dated processes (and furniture) - government tends to operate the
same way it always has. This does lead to cost-savings, however, so it makes
sense why change can be slower in this sector.
For contractors, it’s not necessary to follow legacy processes
and procedures when managing the government bid process. There are solutions
available to solve those three major hurdles -- over-expenditure of time, staff
and resources. For a small-to-midsize contractor who may be low on those
resources, these technology solutions can make all the difference in your
Challenge #1 - Time
Manually searching for request for proposals (RFPs) can be a
full time job. Tracking opportunities through government feeds using Excel
spreadsheets wastes valuable work time. There are sites available – such as
FedBizOpps, GovWin, etc. – that have up-to-date award information, but still
require capture managers to hunt down and sort through hundreds of RFPs that
may or may not be relevant to their business.
Once an opportunity is identified, managers must proactively
keep an eye on each individual opportunity for addendums, content changes,
Q&As and other dynamic information.
For smaller companies, keeping up with this process can be
difficult. For larger companies, there is an additional issue - overlapping
targets. It is common during the initial RFP hunt for more than one capture
manager to pursue and research the same opportunity. Imagine how much time is
wasted in that scenario!
Overlapping focus is reflective of another problem – lack of a
collaborative process. Government RFPs often have very rapid due dates so, when
the right one is chosen to pursue, capture managers need to put together a
proposal quickly. When everything is done manually and without a workflow in
place, staff may miss a crucial step. This will inevitably slow down the whole
project, or may even cause you to lose the bid.
Current technology now allows for task lists to be streamlined
electronically, effectively creating an automated process. Additionally, some
of these newer software solutions auto-populate current data from bid sources
and pull all relevant opportunities into a single funnel (by NAICS, keywords,
Challenge #2 - Money
Capture managers work late nights and many overtime hours to
find and pursue the right contracts for their company. Those hours (especially
overtime) result in large expenditures over time. This also can take a toll on
productivity and motivation. To be successful, we need to work smarter, not
There are some fantastic aggregators available now to filter
opportunities that are a direct fit for your business. The automation of this
function alone can save many hours of staff time and increase the probability
Challenge #3 - Resources
To pursue the maximum number of opportunities, effective
resource allocation must be in place. According to USASpending.gov, in 2015 the
government spent $437 billion on contracting. Are you taking advantage of all
those opportunities? Without the proper use of resources, you’re likely missing
Lacking a single space for communication between contributors
can also be a problem. Collaboration between staff and departments is critical
to getting a successful bid out on time.
Luckily, modern technology is bringing about software that
tackles all of the challenges we face as government contractors. And… because
we are notgovernment agencies… we can quickly and easily adopt
these solutions to immediately start saving time, money and resources.
I urge all businesses take a look at some of these new solutions
as we have done. We are using a solution called ProDash in our offices right
now and saving significant time and money doing so (and winning more contracts
as a result). In addition to ProDash, a few of the other programs available
today include GovTribe and GovBD.
Automation is the key for government contractors to maximize
their business development efforts and increase awards. It’s time to join the
movement and increase your return on investment by applying these tools.
About the Author
Carol Craig is the founder and CEO of Craig Technologies, a $45
million government contract based in Cape Canaveral, Fla.