Defense Information Systems Agency

Region: North America
Industry: Government

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) provides advanced information technology and immediate communications support to the president, vice president, secretary of defense, military services, and combatant commands. From its Ft. Meade, Md., headquarters and through worldwide field activities, DISA offers solutions and enhanced capabilities that enable customers to make rapid decisions, using real-time information, and to turn these decisions into critical strategic, operational, and tactical actions.

Business Problem

DISA needed to improve efficiency and drive automation in its procurement processes. The Agency wanted increased collaboration through a single web-based system for customers, contractors, and administrators to manage all pre-award, award and post-award activities.

DISA’s previous approach to procurement was hampered by separate manual checklists outside of the system, separate log-ins to all sub-systems, and contract documents that were manually edited by contracting staff.

Appian BPM Solution

Using Appian’s Acquisition Business Management solution, DISA created the Integrated Defense Acquisition System (IDEAS). IDEAS is an end-to-end solution that perfectly fit DISA’s unique procurement processes while connecting procurement operations, systems, and DISA personnel in a collaborative, process-driven procurement framework. The new system benefited from single sign-on, elimination of separate checklists (a problem alleviated by well-tailored processes), automated routing of actions to the appropriate personnel, auto-generated documents from system data (eliminating document errors and poor data translation), and dramatically reduced sustainment costs.

IDEAS provides DISA with comprehensive telecommunication acquisition functionality. Because telecommunication acquisition is a specialized portion of overall procurement, no existing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution could meet DISA’s specific needs. Telecommunications acquisition includes process and data requirements unique from standard acquisition practices including: location data attributes, numbering exceptions from prescribed federal regulations, unique CLIN pricing structure to account for monthly recurring and non-recurring charges, complex proration, tariff management, and the use of non-standard government forms for solicitations, awards, and modifications. Traditional COTS solutions would have required DISA to use work-arounds or costly customizations to meet their requirements, while IDEAS is able to account for these unique challenges without compromise.

Appian’s Acquisition Business Management (ABM) solution allowed DISA to drive improvements in productivity and work quality by automating complex agency processes and providing real-time access to critical government information and applications.

The new Appian-based system includes the following productivity enhancing features:

  • Single sign-on using CAC
  • Automated checks and filing for CCR, EPLS, and ORCA
  • Amendments and changes displayed side by side
  • Single system for orders and contract file
  • Automatic routing based on procurement characteristics (e.g. cost, location)
  • Standardized processes
  • Automated reporting of financial impacts (COPS records created automatically)

Twelve legacy system user touch-points were eliminated as part of the implementation, with Appian providing a front-end to all of them, greatly simplifying work for over 100 contracting officers and specialists. Appian has given DISA the flexibility to easily adapt to meet changing requirements. Built on the industry-leading Appian BPM suite, Appian’s Federal procurement solution provides fully integrated process and knowledge functionality for DISA.