Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs
Prezmil2020

Contract Formation Software

Recommended Posts

Good Morning,

Our office does not have a standard, web-based software to create RFQs and RFPs. I did some research and found that some DoD agencies use PRISM. Can someone who uses this explain how it works and if you would recommend it. Also, I am interested in hearing from others who use other software packages to create solicitations. Thanks.

Prezmil2020

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A number of products are available to do solicitation/contracting writing and much more. Essentially there are four that do a good job to prepare procurement documents. They are CACI with Comprism, AMS with Procurement Desktop, Distributed Solutions with AAMS, and Compusearch with Prism. Other companies such as SAP and Oracle have products that aren't as robust as the other four but work well as a fully integrated enterprise financial management environment. Often some integrators will team with one of the four to provide a complete solution.

CACI acquired AMS a couple years ago so there are really three compnies now. DOD really planned on using a commercial version of Procurement Desktop modified extensively to meet DOD's needs called PD2. The DOD system is SPS. It is supposed to be a DODwide system but many still are places using Prism.

All four products are very similar. You answer a number of questions about the procurement that appear on the screen. Based upon your answers, the software pulls the proper clauses from a database of FAR provisions/clauses. The repsonses are also used to "Fill in the blanks" in the provisions/clauses. Yopu also have the ability to incorporate externally generated documents like a SOW into the solicitation and contract.

The down side with any of these systems is the completed documents are only as good as the knowledge and expertise of the people doing the input. If you answer one of the questions that prompts you for a response incorrectly, you end up with the wrong clauses. The person using the system needs to know contracting as well as understand the logic behind the questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our office does not have a standard, web-based software to create RFQs and RFPs. I did some research and found that some DoD agencies use PRISM. Can someone who uses this explain how it works and if you would recommend it. Also, I am interested in hearing from others who use other software packages to create solicitations. Thanks.

I am jealous. I hate using our procurement systems. Just as formerfed describes, you answer a few questions and the software inserts clauses/provisions, fills in blanks on forms, and formats your solicitation/contract. Instead of learning how and why clauses go into contracts, COs and CSs learn how to "answer those questions" in order to get their action to clear the system. Acquisition Office Managers seem more focused on the financial data that these systems generate than whether the contracts that get spit out are proper or not. Often if you want to ensure your solicitation/contract is structured properly or contains the proper clauses/provisions, you must "fight" the system in order to get your action right. As a matter of fact, I believe several of the mainstream COTS procurement systems don't allow you to modify form data directly, meaining your SF 33 (or whatever form) can only be modified by the program based on the info entered. ("Open the pod bay doors, Hal!")

Many in this forum will likely state that procurement systems are leading factor in the death of professionalism in the 1102 series. I don't disagree. There is value in having software that gathers procurement data... whether or not the pros outweigh the cons is up for debate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have worked with both Prism and PD2, and which would be better for you depends upon how complex or simple you need the software to be. In my experience, Prism is simpler than PD2, but is not as complete as PD2 for some functions such as selecting clauses and formatting of documents. Prism also does not have the functionality of "sending" documents that PD2 does, nor can users share documents as easily.

Prism also does not give you a "what you see is what you get" screen; you have to print preview in order to see how the document will print out. The PD2 screen is pretty much a WYSIWYG systems, so if your spacing, or paragraphs are off, you will see it.

PD2 does have a problem when you upload MS Word documents with some kinds of formatting, I found that I had to save a document as text only, then upload the document into PD2 in order to avoid some really funky formating problems.

I am not sure the functionality of Prism with other software for things like accepting PR's from other organizations, in our office they came in as PDF docs that a contractor manually input into Prism. PD2 does allow for other software to input PR's electronically.

In the end, you should get a demo from the software providers and choose base on which suits your purposes the best. I would not choose either without at least looking at the interfaces and seeing it in action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the end, you should get a demo from the software providers and choose base on which suits your purposes the best. I would not choose either without at least looking at the interfaces and seeing it in action.

By all means get a demo from all three/four sources. Then go visit agencies that actually use the software and get their feedback.

A demo can be misleading especially when you see it operate on a dedicated workstation. It will be fast. Comapre that when the software resides on a server shared with multiple users. Also find out other agencies cost to implement. All the software requires use of a realtional database package like Oracle. You will need to acquire/upgrade the number of licenses. Depending upon your particular agency, you may require additional security. Also you may want program offices to input requisitions into the system directly as well as budget and finance interface capabilities. That all is expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should also consider upfront what are/will be your requirements to include reports. Many of the contract writing systems are able to capture data but not able to provide usable reports to include work-in-proces information. Also you will need to capture what your current contract writing requirements are and weigh that against using a COTS type package - there will be trade offs in functionality that you may or may not be able to accept. Bottom Line: Be sure you capture your requirements to include what type of report(s) you will need and to what degree you are willing to "adopt" versus "adapt" to a COTS application.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a minor correction, both Procurement Desktop (PD2) and Comprizon are now CACI products. CACI bought the PD business from AMS several years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good Morning,

Our office does not have a standard, web-based software to create RFQs and RFPs. I did some research and found that some DoD agencies use PRISM. Can someone who uses this explain how it works and if you would recommend it. Also, I am interested in hearing from others who use other software packages to create solicitations. Thanks.

Prezmil2020

I'd recommend PRISM but not for creating solicitations. In my non-DOD office, it is optional to use for creating solicitations and very few people (I know of only one) use it for that although we've all been trained in how to do so a few times. I think it would take me longer to create a solicitation in PRISM and add an annoyance element.

The way it basically works, if I recall, you can create templates in PRISM with standard clauses and sections then you add anything else the system lets you (like non-standard clauses/provisions). Then you download the solicitation into a text file and plug in the statement of work etc. and upload it back into PRISM. Of course, templates have to be modified and such by a system admin type and the clauses have to be pushed into PRISM. It's easier for me to just keep Word file templates and update it as I go through selecting applicable clauses and provisions (if I'm dealing outside of PRISM for a good part of this anyway why bother with PRISM at all).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...