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Is Your Contracting Activity Fully Digital, A Mixture of Digital and Paper, Or Paper?  

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  1. 1. Is Your Contracting Activity Fully Digital, A Mixture of Digital and Paper, Or Paper?

    • Total Digital
    • Mixture of Digital and Paper
    • Paper

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How far has the federal government's contracting process progressed into the 21st century?  In 2003, when I did a brief stint with a consultant company, I reviewed digital contract files over the internet from my home.  The company I was with, for the most part, was a virtual company.  I never saw those I worked with and that was fine with me.

I've seen much discussion on the forums about digital and paper and I want to know your work experience.  There will be 3 possible answers:

1  Total digital:  in this category, all documents from the Procurement Request through Contract Award are totally digital, including signatures.  Review of your contract file can be done online.  Your agency may use digital folders for sections of your contract file.  Communication with offerors is done over the internet including digital proposals and signatures, etc.  Digital proposal format may include .pdf, word, etc. but you upload them into your agency network.  Proposals are evaluated over your agency network.  If you conduct Oral Presentations with offerors, you do it online with video and audio.  In your work life, you Do Not see paper.      

2.  Mixture of digital and paper:  OK, you print your electronic documents and place them in a hard copy contract file.  You are not completely in the digital world but you do things on your agency's network.  You may use hard copies or digital copies of documents from the requesting organization.  Proposals come in various formats, paper, pdf, etc.   In short, you still have SOME Paper in your work life.  You are in between Total Digital and Paper.

3.  Paper:  You still use a typewriter or you are dependent on type written documents.  Everything in your work life IS Paper.

If you have any questions about the categories, select the one that is closest to your contracting activity's work experience.

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Number 2 but not as you portrayed it.  Our main contracting office is digital except for signing the award document.   The award is scanned and added to the eFile.  eFiling became mandatory in May 2017 but compliance (change management) is taking longer than originally thought.  Documents are not printed and put in a hard file. The COR files that go with the contract file lag far behind because funds were cut for deploying the system to them.  Some personnel have electronic files outside of our mandated central repository and have not found time to move them.   

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You are close to 1 but still 2 in my mind.  I would view a 1 as a network--or acess to the network--that includes contracting and programs and administrative staff.  Permissions to access specific files could be granted to those who need to access them.  The contracting officer, or specialist, could set timelines for users to remind them to get done.  We could arrange for alarm bells to go off in the program office if they were not getting done.

I like the idea of digital contract files with the solicitation number, then contract number, that include digital folders, instead of tabs, for contract file documents.  Instead of lugging folders around, one could grant access to tabs or files.  I'm sure that something similar is commonplace now.  Many times, I had to ask the agency to order paper files for me from the records center in Suitland, Maryland.

However, the trick is to get 100% digital for everyone involved in the solicitation and contract.

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