Interactive Business Opportunities (IBOP)

The IBOP team is a premiere paperless contracting application allowing the release of solicitations, receipt and evaluation of proposals, negotiations, source selections, and contract awards over the World Wide Web via the Internet.

Initially fielded by the Army's CECOM in just six (6) weeks, the BOP application has evolved into an intra-Governmental agency application which revolutionizes the way the Government contracts for needed services and resources.

 Each participating agency shares in developmental costs and functional design of the software.

The BOP is based on Thin Client Internet technology and does not require its users, either Government or Industry, to acquire any software to access and/or operate the application.

 Users only need to have Internet access and a Browser to access and operate the BOP.

 The application has been fielded by contracting offices of 7 Government agencies and is accessed by Contractors around the world. As a result of its extremely low cost, it has received favorable response from industry.

 Using commercial products, and leveraging Internet technology to improve contracting processes, the BOP has been recognized as a premiere paperless contracting application by both the Department of Defense (DoD) and other Federal agencies.

REDUCTION IN LIFE CYCLE COSTS:

BOP implementation has resulted in avoidance of paper processing costs to include printing, copying, storage, transmittal and postage fees associated with traditional contracting processes.

Contracting personnel no longer send solicitations and contracts to printers to obtain copies for distribution to industry and costs formerly of using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver solicitations and contracts to industry have been eliminated.

Simultaneously, a five (5) to seven (7) day reduction of the normal postage cycle time has been realized.

Administrative times have been dramatically reduced as paperless solicitations are instantaneously posted to the Internet for review and distribution. On average, the BOP has reduced contracting cycle time by fourteen (14) days.

Industry has also claimed similar savings from improved processes that the BOP affords.

Contractors no longer need to generate paper proposals, send them to the printers, or mail them to the Contracting Office.

Using the BOP application, Contractor proposals may be posted electronically. Implementation of this application has dramatically reduced travel costs, as well as redirected labor efforts.

Time spent away from duty stations performing proposal evaluations have been minimized as the BOP facilitates online review of contractor proposals. Both Government and commercial organizations using the BOP have realized substantial time and resource savings.In reducing its cycle time by 21 to 27 days, CECOM has realized a cost avoidance of $2.1 million.

SPAWAR realizes a total annual cost savings of $875,000 in redirected labor efforts, reduced mailing costs, contract award distributions, and day to day WEB administration.

In the first year of operation, the DOE realized savings of $200,000 in redirected labor efforts and reduced mailing costs for Headquarters only. DOE projects that approximately $1.4 million will be saved when the system is implemented at seven (7) field offices during FY 2000.

Potential savings for DOE vendors resulting from the elimination of printing and delivery costs of $325,000 per site per year are anticipated. Additionally, potential savings for DOE vendors related to reduced labor efforts associated with the preparation of the bid or proposal documents are estimated at $250,000 per site per year.

BEST VALUE FOR THE GOVERNMENT:I

n addition to the cost savings and cycle time reductions mentioned above, the BOP was designed with the anticipation of continued downsizing within the DoD. Essentially, the BOP is a location independent, virtual office.

Contracting professionals, with only Internet access and a Browser can perform contracting duties despite the location, whether on the job, on TDY, or at home.

 As we apply the Thin Client Technology, we anticipate the DoD will eventually move to new processes utilizing the Virtual Office.

The contracting function can now be accomplished regardless of where the customer is located around the world.

Customer activities around the world can post their requirements to the BOP, allowing the Contracting Officer to access the information, create a solicitation, and award a contract.

The BOP was designed with future acquisition challenges in mind. The State Department has demonstrated and proven the worldwide range of this application by successfully posting solicitations and contracts to one site from London, Paraguay, Bratislava, Nicosia, Honduras, and Germany as well as other American Embassies around the world.

INTEGRATING WITH COMMERCIAL PRACTICES :

The keystone of this application was the deliberate decision to utilize commercial products throughout the design and implementation of this system. Utilizing the power of Notes Domino a Thin Client Web application was integrated into legacy contracting systems.

 The commercially available Secure Socket Layer 128 byte encryption protects the Government and Contractor data during transmission over the Internet. Using commercial products keep Government costs low while precluding costs incurred by industry, including Small Businesses. PROMOTING CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT OF THE ACQUISITION PROCESS.

The IBOP team was empowered to make decisions regarding the design and implementation of the BOP. They were also given the attendant authority to hand pick individuals to support the application from other functional areas within their respective organizations.

Critical to the program's success was the team's decision to have the actual users (contracting professionals, program managers, and industry representatives) design the application. Involvement of these individuals ensured enthusiastic buy-in from the user communities.

More importantly, the IBOP team leader is a Contracting Officer (i.e. a functional user of the application).

User management of the application has ensured that the BOP continues both to grow and to be responsive to the daily needs and changing requirements of the community it supports. In turn, it receives their active support.

Jointly, government and industry users have implemented approximately 23 upgrades to the BOP application. The BOP was intentionally designed with an open architecture that quickly assimilates new technology to support the installation and resource challenges of 21st century contracting.

ACCOMPLISHING SPECIFIC GOALS ASSOCIATED WITH ACQUISITION REFORM INITIATIVES

.In summary, the IBOP team accomplished what many thought could never be achieved. They looked at Acquisition Reform as a license to modernize the contracting process by automating acquisition information to gain efficiencies for the DOD and other Government agencies, as well as Industry. Indicative of the far reaching scope of the program's continuing success is the fact that it is being promoted by industry.


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