Achieving Acquisition Success: Use an Acquisition Tool

In this final series installment, we cover why using the right tool is so important to the acquisition process

Technology is wonderful. Today, technology is essential to our everyday life—from smart phones to smart cars, there is no denying how much improvement technology can bring to an individual.  This is also true when it comes to achieving acquisition success.

One of the common protest filings in federal acquisitions is a lack of thorough documentation to ensure the selection process was conducted fairly. The Federal Acquisition Regulation System (FARS), a substantial and complex set of rules governing the federal government's purchasing process*,  was established to explicitly favor competition, lower prices and level the playing field for contractors who wish to do business with the government. Thus, government officials who want to ensure success and avoid protest must keep thorough documentation. Great documentation lowers the risk of failure.

Use of an automated acquisition tool, such as AcquTrak, can help the contracting officer (CO) manage the source selection documentation. Acquisition tools are used to help facilitate the process but they do not replace the expertise of the evaluators—who must use their judgement and past experience to determine if the solution presented by the offerors meets the requirements specified in the evaluation criteria. AcquTrak also helps to ensure a consistent, fair evaluation for all offerors, keeping the evaluation team from falling into the trap of comparing offerors against each other. 

In addition to assisting the evaluation team, the right tool can also play a vital role in collecting all of the documentation required to successfully defend the contract award. From preparing reports for the Source Selection Authority, to developing debriefs and gathering data to successfully defend protests, an acquisition tool can be a CO’s best resource during these often stressful times.

The documentation doesn’t simply end once the contract is awarded only to be filed away; successful implementation, too, requires its own considerable share of documentation. Often times it is critical to go back to the acquisition documentation during contract implementation—particularly to help with clarifying misunderstandings and to “hold the contractor’s feet to the fire” on what is needed to achieve success. Remember, the contract award is not the end of the acquisition process. 

Noblis Acquisition Suite of Tools
Noblis provides a requirements-focused, full lifecycle approach to assisting our clients with tailored solutions, regardless of a project's phase. Our suite of tools include: AcquTrak, an acquisition collaboration and process support tool used throughout the acquisition life cycle; AcquServe, a toolset of advanced software applications that supports an acquisition program from the solicitation through operation; and AcquCenter, a state-of-the-art, dedicated acquisition facility designed to meet the specialized needs of acquisition teams. Click here to learn more.

The acquisition process is a lot of hard work, however, if done right, it can provide excellent results to the government team for years to come. It starts with strategy development—creating the “playbook” for the acquisition teams—followed by getting the requirements right, choosing a winning team and using the right tools to help manage documentation. All of these steps are vital to the success of an acquisition process.

Remembering that the acquisition life cycle is much longer than just the selection of the vendor is the best way to ensure a sustainable and affordable program. Don’t go at it alone—bring in the right partners to help conquer your acquisition challenge!

*As defined by   

All four parts of the series can be found at the links below or get a PDF copy here.
Noblis Expert

Bill Morris

Bill is the leader of the Noblis Acquisition Tools Center of Excellence.
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Noblis' Rob Maccubbin explains how technology and modernization have improved the success rate of acquisitions.
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