// Custom CSS
Insight by Technomile

Identifying the right tools for managing federal contracts

This is the first article in our series, Leading Voices in Federal Contract Management.

As a longtime innovator in The Beltway technology community, Ashish Khot came to see that existing contract management platforms weren’t ideal for companies contracting with the federal government.

“What I noticed was a lot of those platforms that were very successful in the commercial world were not very well suited for organizations trying to use the latest technology to do business...

READ MORE

Shape

Governance Risk and Compliance Tools for Contract Management

“We saw an opportunity to … create a platform that would provide companies a unique advantage while still using a commercially available cloud platform — but really built for them to manage the government’s complex contract lifecycle process.”
— Ashish Khot, CEO, TechnoMile

Shape

Additional Technologies to Benefit Contract Management

“TechnoMile’s mission is empowering our clients to use data, both the data that is housed in their internal systems as well as publicly available data.”
— TechnoMile CEO Ashish Khot

This is the first article in our series, Leading Voices in Federal Contract Management.

As a longtime innovator in The Beltway technology community, Ashish Khot came to see that existing contract management platforms weren’t ideal for companies contracting with the federal government.

“What I noticed was a lot of those platforms that were very successful in the commercial world were not very well suited for organizations trying to use the latest technology to do business with the government,” said Khot, CEO of TechnoMile in Tysons, Virginia.

In fact, they often became incredibly costly to implement to account for the unique sales processes and lifecycle management involved in government contracts, he said. Federal contractors typically spent a lot of time and money on configurations and customizations, Khot said, adding that “the total cost of ownership of these platforms was much higher than what these companies thought that it would be when they started their software implementation journey.”

A contract management platform specifically for federal contractors

An idea was born: Create a contract management cloud platform purpose-built for government contractors.

“We saw an opportunity to disrupt that space and create a platform that would provide companies a unique advantage while still using a commercially available cloud platform — but really built for them to manage the government’s complex contract lifecycle process,” Khot said.

Fast forward to today, and TechnoMile has developed an end-to-end cloud platform that covers pre- and post-award contract management needs. Its tool suites deploy directly on top of cloud customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, either Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365, to avoid creating a contract management silo distinct from a business’s customer data.

Initially, Khot’s team at TechnoMile focused on the pre-award capability, what it calls the Growth Suite, which it specifically developed to help contractors increase their win rates. It “enables companies to transform their business development processes and allows them to streamline the capture lifecycle,” he said. The Growth Suite helps a contractor do that in four ways, Khot explained:

  • Identifying opportunities that a company should pursue
  • Providing competitive insights based on contracting activities and federal information gleaned and amassed by TechnoMile
  • Detailing how the company should conduct its capture process to gather information and business intelligence about a project
  • Assigning and managing pre-award tasks and activities

Creating the connective tissue between pre- and post-award contract management

The company soon realized that providing support to its customers post award was a natural extension of the Growth Suite, Khot said, and that contractors often needed automation to help mature their contract management processes.

“The majority of the workflow that the contracts team was doing was all manual, or they were using a series of spreadsheets in order to manage the contract process,” he said. That led to a lot of tracking hiccups and challenges, particularly for ensuing bids because that’s when “the contracts team was really very tightly involved in the pre-award process.”

It’s the details that matter, Khot pointed out. Being able to capture information from the contracts team — such as how a contracting officer reacts to certain clauses, what types of compliance practices were required, and where additional time and resources were expended — helps in developing future bids. “It gives a business a unique advantage when opportunities come up for recompete,” he said.

The post-award TechnoMile capabilities, its GRC Suite (which stands for governance, risk and compliance), help a contracts team and ultimately the business in four ways, Khot said:

  • Streamlining and managing the entire lifecycle of a government contract, including meeting all deliverable requirements
  • Providing information to help the contractor meet compliance requirements
  • Reducing risk associated with the contract by helping identify potential issues across the life of a project
  • Increasing overall profitability

How AI/ML can improve contract management for federal contractors

“TechnoMile’s mission is empowering our clients to use data, both the data that is housed in their internal systems as well as publicly available data,” Khot said.

But there’s a rub, he noted: How can a company use this tremendous amount of data in a way that helps it address its unique challenges in supporting the federal government?

The answer is natural processing language, artificial intelligence and machine learning, he said.

NPL is essential in an environment where so much information remains on paper or housed digitally as unstructured data. AI and machine learning become essential for isolating specific data and using it to identify trends and cull insights.

“We are partnering with our clients to determine how best to use this technology for their unique challenges,” Khot said. He is particularly excited about the ability to train machine learning models that can help companies identify risk before they even submit their proposals.

For both fixed-price and cost-plus proposals, a lot of data can be extracted from federal solicitations documents and then married with the core capabilities of the would-be contractor, he said. Then, “you can calculate the risk that is involved. And it’s very different from one company to another company, what is risky for one organization may not be as risky for another organization.”

How TechnoMile helps users keep current with government compliance requirements

Ensuring compliance remains a challenge for government contractors. That’s mostly because of the vast clauses and requirements woven into most federal contracts and buying processes, said TechnoMile CEO Ashish Khot.

By way of example, he noted just a few: the Buy American Act clauses, recent clauses related to COVID-19 and a continuing array of cybersecurity flow-down clauses that affect a company’s subcontract teams.
It’s not uncommon for government contractors to track all of these clauses manually, Khot said. The TechnoMile platform tracks clause changes and federal procurement requirements as they’re occurring and updates this information within its GRC Suite.

Access to current compliance requirements and clause terms helps companies make faster decisions, which allows them to be more productive, better manage the risk involved in dealing with the government and increase profit margin, Khot said.