Getting a solid management handle on Capture Management becomes increasingly important as Government Contractors grow beyond Small Business status. In this article, we’ll explain the situation of one of our customers, a 350-person services and products Federal Government Contractor, that successfully moved up to an integrated capture management system using WinCenter. We’ll explain the situation, the solution and the results.
The Customer and their Situation
This 350 person company has 4 separate operating divisions that are geographically dispersed. They provide services and manufactured products to the Federal Government. Like most Government Contractors with multiple divisions, each is lead by a different person. Their way of working was to use separate spreadsheets to track opportunities – managed by each division. The spreadsheets were complex (actually a work of art). The result is that it was a great burden to bring the spreadsheets together to get a clear picture for management. In fact, each time that the organization wanted to do so, it required a week of time to perform this task. The result was that the only standard was that they would do it once a year. Usually, each year there would be at least one time where they would do it to get an interim snapshot.
This situation had a number of problems at different levels. The obvious one is that it takes a week to get the spreadsheet consolidation job done. A more important problem was that because of this burden, it was only done rarely. The objective of management was to be able to get the right information at least monthly and ideally in real time. The more subtle problem was that this system allowed the various divisions to work in different ways without a great deal of ability by management to prescriptively and consistently manage and drive the capture process across the organization. What they really wanted was a single integrated system that would drive the organization to adopt and follow a standard process for capture management. They wanted to make their business of winning business more manageable.
The organization evaluated a number of CRM systems and WinCenter. They settled on WinCenter. A key reason is that WinCenter goes beyond the simple database tracking of all CRM systems. It is a purpose-built Capture Management system for GovCon, designed to support the industry standard Phase-based opportunity lifecycle process and standard capture activities. Sure, WinCenter would solve their problem of getting rid of spreadsheets. But also, it would allow them to also change the behavior and drive a consistent capture process across the organization. The key determination by management was that they needed to change the thinking and behavior of the organization, and, having software that would reinforce their process was key. As part of the solution, management did a good amount of planning to put in place the activities during implementation to drive education and user adoption.
The implementation was largely a standard WinCenter implementation of the technical solution. The customer focused on Opportunity and Capture Management. The Proposal Management side of WinCenter was slated for Phase 2. To drive success, the customer invested additional money and resources in the “soft” stuff. We did solid user adoption planning in advance. To drive user adoption, they budgeted time internally and externally for “brown bag” sessions with the various divisions, for supporting videos, and for feedback and changes to the system during implementation.
The system was implemented and rolled out to the organization over 3 months. The technical part of the implementation was straight forward. The user adoption took the bulk of the time and attention.
It was a very successful rollout. The customer says that it is the most successfully adopted system that they have rolled out over the last 5 years. One of the keys is that Management provided a “give and get” offer to the business groups. Simply, management committed to use the system for their monthly division level briefings (the “give). A great deal of time is taken up by business division people manually responding to data calls of management that come on an ad hoc basis. And, so this was a tangible value for the business division personnel. The “get” was that all divisions had to input their opportunities (200 plus) within a 30 day period.
The obvious result of this rollout and the user adoption, is that all of the opportunity and capture is now integrated and available in real time. The time to get management the information has gone from 1 week to instant. Management now conducts standard monthly briefings directly through the system in a virtual briefing session. They have their high level info and then they can drill down into the Opportunity 360 View of WinCenter or into specific details of capture activities.
The system also provides a host of additional benefits. One feature we added for them was a specialized Pwin (Probability of Win) calculator. This calculator uses a set of questions and criteria to generate the Pwin percent. So, in one step they went from manual Pwin guesses to an objective methodology. In addition, in their case, they now leverage the ability of WinCenter to Spread Opportunity Revenue. Their ability to manage their Capture Pipeline has gone from a problem to a very consistent and manageable real time system.
The configurability of WinCenter has allowed the customer to continue to enhance the system on their own. This is important because the battle for behavior change is ongoing. They found that some divisions and individuals did not provide all of the necessary information. So, they instituted “exception reporting”. They set standards for what is really needed at a minimum for each phase of the capture process. Now, when people request B&P monies or schedule a Gate Review meeting, management looks at a simple report of exceptions. This exception reporting is being used to drive adherence to standards and to understand where they require additional education and training.
The next phase for this customer is to plan and execute on the rollout of WinCenter to manage Proposal Management across the divisions. Proposal Management is already part of their WinCenter system. It is integrated with Capture. However, at this point key features are disabled (a simple thing to do). They intend to use a similar approach focused on user adoption and providing for the required differences for each division but driving common standards.