The U.S. Air Force (USAF) was required to provide their Contracting Officers a lightweight solution to enable them to quickly generate various Procurement Instruments (PI) such as awards (SF 1449), modifications (SF 30) etc. The solution needed to provide business continuity when the main contracting solution was not available due to a network outage or other problems. The solution also needed to be available in offline mode. Users in remote locations needed to be able to use the application to create awards and modifications and then sync it back to the main contract generation system when they returned to the office.
The procurement instruments used a complex XSD (XML Schema Definition) Schema called a Procurement Data Standard (PDS) (see Defense Pricing and Contracting: Procurement Data Standard and Other Enterprise Initiatives). Because of this, the solution needed to generate PDS-compliant XMLs so that they could easily be sent to other interfacing systems.
To satisfy the requirements provided, Synergy used the CelerForm platform to help the U.S. Air Force quickly create a set of online forms for generating PIs.
Solution: CelerForm Designer
Designing the form structure
To address this challenge, Synergy used the CelerForm platform to quickly create multiple forms for the various procurement instruments (e.g. SF 1449, SF30, SF 33, DD 1155). We began by importing the PDS XSD into the platform, which created a hierarchical data structure. After that, we sat down with the USAF contracting functional specialist to create those forms within the CelerForm platform. We designed each form to look just like its respective PDF form. This meant the contracting officers would not need any additional training to use the new application.
Rules and collaboration
By importing the XSD, we automatically inherited the syntactic validation logics, enumerations, rules, etc. Using CelerForm’s rules engine, we created the business rules for various cross-filed semantic validation. Lastly, using CelerForm’s collaboration feature, we created a simple workflow for reviewing and editing. Once contracting personnel created an award or a modification, they could instantly send it to their supervisor for review and comments.
Certified and deployed
Once we developed our solution, we sought to get the solution ATOed (Certificate to Field). Collaborating with Air Force Platform One (see Air Force Team: Platform One), we were able to accomplish this within a month and then deploy the application on the CloudOne platform.
Other form-designer features
We also created an offline version of the product to let contracting personnel create the procurement instruments in a disconnected mode. To provide a pleasant and easy user experience, we created a modern, mobile-friendly interface which lets users create and edit contracts from tablets.
Since data entered in the forms is always saved as PDS XML in the backend, it was easy to export form data from CelerForm. Once exported, you could import that same data into any other system that can accept PDS (the standard for data exchange in the federal contracting domain). This standard-driven approach made it painless for interfacing with other systems.
Similarly, we designed CelerForm to receive an imported PDS created by another system. After importing, the user could modify the pre-built form to suit their needs.
Using the CelerForm platform, Synergy was able to quickly develop a contract-writing solution for the U.S. Air Force in order to meet the contracting officers requirements.
- Ability to intuitively create PDS-compliant data structures for SF 1449, SF30, SF 33, DD 1155
- Create a PI from scratch
- Import existing PDS XML for a PI you have created before and
- continue working on it to complete or modify, then
- export it as PDS XML
- Built-in rules validation rules following the “PDS 2.5.1 Business Rules” published in the DPC website
- Ability to import Clause Logic XML clauses into the tool to populate clauses
- Online version is Common Access Card (CAC)-enabled and received ATO on CloudOne in record time
- Offline capabilities to create PIs
- Built using a modern web framework that is easy to change, responsive and intuitive