The Air Force, in a rare example of cross-service standardization, will use a cloud-based procurement system built for the Defense Information Systems Agency as the basis for its own acquisition software, according to procurement documents.
“DISA will host the CON-IT solution,” states an amended “sources sought” notice from the USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, posted Monday. CON-IT is the service’s projected computerized contracting system, which will be built in DISA’s cloud, the newly posted “performance work statement” says.
The Air Force is using DISA’s cloud-based Integrated Defense Enterprise Acquisition System, known as IDEAS, as the basis for the system, according to the original sources sought notice.
IDEAS, which the notice calls “a mature, operationally proven Government-Off-the-Shelf contract writing solution,” is a business process management platform built for DISA by software development contractors Appian. It automates the processes involved in offering, issuing and managing a contract, but can be specialized for particular procurements like telecom.
“It’s a gateway to further innovation,” Appian CEO Matt Calkin told FedScoop of the IDEAS platform.
“IDEAS will be configured and further developed to become CON-IT and meet the [service’s] requirements for the contracting community,” states the Air Force notice, originally issued last month. It says the Air Force will need “at a minimum services for development, integration, data migration, training, sustainment and maintenance.”
IDEAS integrated 12 legacy procurements systems into a single web-based platform that was originally deployed on the agency’s own network, but then moved to the cloud, according to the Appian website.
“I love that DISA migrated it to the cloud” after Appian built it on premise, Calkin said.
Now the Air Force will build the system out further in DISA’s cloud in a pair of “Virtual Operating Environments” — one to allow users of the system access so they can use the procurement capability, and another which will serve as a “staging (integration and pre-production) environment for system functional verifications and user acceptance testing,” according to the procurement notice.
A spokesperson for the company called the Air Force’s decision proof that agencies were “utilizing the cloud to standardize and modernize solutions utilizing agile development platforms like Appian.”