Posts Tagged ‘FDA’

Chris Dorobek of Federal News Radio recently interviewed Appian VP of Marketing Samir Gulati about the increased use of business process management software in federal agencies, and the financial and operational benefits of using BPM in a cloud environment.

In the past, federal agencies have created “point-solution” BPM applications for proof of concept, Gulati said. Now, these organizations are using the technology as a broader platform agency-wide for process and case management. The FDA is implementing BPM for everything from CIO-level reporting to tracking new medicines and food additives. Another example, recently discussed in this blog and in Washington Technology, is the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which has multiple mission-critical BPM projects in place.

BPM in the cloud is also taking off in government circles, Gulati added. The Department of Education recently granted Appian an Authority to Operate a hosted BPM application delivered through Amazon Web Services. Cloud benefits include a greatly reduced total cost of ownership, and faster time to value, he said. Agencies don’t have to install equipment on premises, software is readily hosted and accessed through the cloud, there is no need to deploy servers or maintain applications, and upgrades are received free without the need for involvement from agency personnel.

 When using BPM in the federal sector, Gulati added, agencies have to iterate and constantly improve processes in response to the changing regulatory landscape. Rules and regulations must be built into processes to comply with changing compliance requirements in the federal marketplace.

 “Great processes are evolved, not invented,” Gulati noted.

fednewsradio1 DorobekInsider On BPM’s Public Sector Benefits

Ever since his appointment as Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra has championed the idea that technology can truly transform government. And not just transform it – he wants to make it more open through what have come to be known as Kundra’s “Five Pillars” for IT priorities — innovation, cyber security, transparency, engaging citizens, and lowering the cost of government.

The push for greater openness has even prompted the General Services Administration (GSA) to offer incentives to respond to the challenges of better engaging citizens through an agency-wide platform for innovative solutions.

At its heart, open government is about making agencies more accountable to citizens across the board. It’s about giving citizens more opportunities to connect with government in ways that leave them better equipped to understand and navigate the complex federal bureaucracy. It’s about improved efficiency, transparency, and collaboration.

In short, it’s about better business processes.

Business Process Management software can offer a firm foundation for open government. Increasingly, BPM is being used not just for the “easy stuff” in agency operations, but in targeted core mission responsibilities within an agency or a department. The BPM management methodology directly supports what the Obama Administration is telling agencies about how to relate to both internal and external customers.

Organizations such as the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) are embracing BPM as central to their operations. DAU uses BPM to enforce processes and increase efficiency, reliability, and visibility – ensuring that business rules and approvals are met every time. That reduces processing time, eliminates needless repetition and identifies process bottlenecks.

As mentioned in a previous blog, the Food and Drug Administration has picked Appian as its BPM vendor of choice, and has extended its use of the Appian BPM Suite under a new five-year Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA). Having successfully tested out proof of concept, FDA is using BPM technology licenses and support services across the entire organization, targeting core processes agency-wide.

BPM has always had deep value – beyond just trimming the edges of cost reduction and efficiency. As agencies continue looking at more ways to implement the five pillars of open government, they’ll find that BPM is a solid foundation on which to build a real connection with their constituency.

whitehouse2 300x231 BPM: A Firm Foundation for the Five Pillars of Open Government

“The longest journey begins with a single step.” That old saying is as fitting for introducing new software applications as it for any other job. Taking a BPM journey is transformative for government, but getting started with that first step can seem daunting.

When it comes to carefully wading into the BPM waters, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a prime example of how to do it right. The FDA was interested in BPM in support of a strategic vision to transform its operations in response to emerging scientific, technological, and economic trends affecting its regulatory mission. This vision reflects the principles of productivity and accountability initiated back in 2002 in the E-Government Act, and carried forward by the current administration’s efforts to make sure our government is “running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible.”

The FDA eased into BPM by initiating a pilot program so it could assess the technology. For the pilot, the agency selected the Appian BPM Suite. Working on the pilot increased the agency’s internal BPM competency. Based on that, the FDA expanded to four separate BPM deployments that were self-contained and specific in scope. These projects further increased the FDA’s BPM comfort level with BPM technology and methodology. As various Centers within the FDA began to see the power of BPM – and how it could improve their core business functions – the FDA decided to make BPM available agency-wide.

Recently, the FDA formalized that decision via a new five-year Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) making Appian BPM available across all FDA Centers. With all options, the contract value exceeds $12M. (For more information on the agreement, see the FDA press release from Appian here.)

The FDA’s measured approach to BPM implementation is ideal for agencies with interest in the software, but an insufficient level of understanding and experience. When you break down the process of BPM adoption, you’ll find that each step gives you more confidence to take the next. Sooner than you think, you’ll be well on your way to improving how your agency executes its mission.

BPM is a journey of rich reward. Why not take the first step?

fda logo FDA Shows How to Get Started with BPM