“Everyone is used to the groan at the mention ‘data call’ because the government has so many statutory reporting requirements,” said Aimee Medonos, AnaVation Principal. “But we found a collaborative model for the day-to-day workforce where it makes it feel like the data ‘self-organizes’ for us.”
AnaVation (a name that combines “analytics” and “innovation”) is a Government contractor that provides technical services to Federal Government customers. The team continuously supports a portfolio of current and potential customers with ongoing relationships, contracts, and capabilities. We use Salesforce to help manage internal collaboration on the development and delivery of complex contracts and proposals while meeting the Government’s security compliance standards.
In other words, “that easy-to-use, collaborative model still has to provide the level of security required to support the latest IT security trends. Like Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which is becoming an increasingly prevalent criterion in order to qualify for DOD Government contracts, and we are expecting this to expand to the Federal Government at large,” Medonos continued. “The Salesforce Government Cloud Plus Platform enables our compliance with CMMC, giving us a security foundation, so we can focus our team on helping our customers meet their missions.”
The DOD sets a new tone for the Federal contracting landscape.
“Both large aerospace and defense contractors and small specialized service companies are preparing to meet CMMC. Anything in your IT portfolio that falls short of the Government compliance standards, creates a risk that you will not be awarded the contract,” said Kevin Schlosser, AnaVation Information Systems Security Engineer. “The amount of work you have to do ahead of time is tremendous. Maintaining servers, validating over 1,500 controls, onboarding compliance-qualified personnel, documenting a disaster recovery plan, and more before you even get to the audit piece.”
“And, the combination of those U.S. Government requirements overwhelms 95% of the commercial software providers currently available in the cloud.” said Medonos, “This makes it difficult to securely provide real-time collaboration across teams who expect a modern web-based experience, built in data visualization, and use of mobile devices on-the-go.”
AnaVation needed a security-driven platform that not only met CMMC requirements but also enabled the team to share the right information with the right employee so that more time and energy was focused on capturing the voice of the customer instead of wrestling with IT infrastructure.
AnaVation introduces a security-first bid and capture management platform.
AnaVation launched a CRM on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce Government Cloud Plus platform, built on the AWS GovCloud (US) infrastructure. It gives Medonos, Schlosser, and their teammates the kind of modern, digital tools government contractors need to win contracts and deliver innovative services, all within an environment designed for CMMC compliance. Salesforce is also a capability that AnaVation securely deploys to Government customers. Phillip Stasko, Director of CRM Programs, is a user of AnaVation’s internal system and has a team of developers supporting Federal Government deployments of CRM capabilities:
- When Stasko is working to win a contract, he can enter information — details, meeting notes, relevant documents, etc. — into a profile-like record in Sales Cloud. This gives him a 360-degree view of the customer and their mission, “making it easier to pursue multiple projects and multiple activities at the same time. It helps us coordinate input and responses at multiple stages along the way, ” said Stasko.
- Integrated reports and dashboards make it easy for Stasko and the rest of the AnaVation Leadership team to summarize real-time status, forecast results, spot patterns, and pinpoint catalysts driving the business. “We can also flip between parts of the organization. We can drill down or roll up insights with pictures, graphics, and models with little effort, and literally visualize the state of our business,” Stasko continued.
- Once the contract has been awarded, Stasko can continue to update the profile for his customer with the latest information, as well as tag subject matter experts on specific questions, review history from a previous contract, flag important updates, push notifications to stakeholders, and more. This brings the whole of AnaVation’s expertise into a scalable, actionable view for directors like Stasko.
- It also makes much-needed compliance verification more accessible. “For instance, when the SolarWinds scare happened, it was so easy to provide the necessary information to the government. We just had to go to the Salesforce website, download the information packet, and send it over to the client. I received an email request around 9:00 a.m. the morning that hit, and I think I had the answer by 9:10,” said Stasko.
Shield was layered on, enabling AnaVation to provide an additional layer of security. Configurations (instead of customizations) enable new applications to be launched in a quick timeframe, “with the same high confidence in the security posture of the product. That’s a win for me,” said Schlosser. “And I was introduced to the product cold. I had seen Salesforce, but never played with it. So I read the whitepaper, went through the user interface section, and within two weeks I was comfortable enough to say ‘okay, I can configure this and test it in a sandbox environment.’"
Realizing the business value from their work.
AnaVation’s CRM went live in just four weeks, and the leadership team uses it daily to coordinate internal and external customer engagement. Additionally, the team’s preparation “allowed for a seamless transition to working remote with the onset of COVID-19,” said Schlosser; AnaVation was able to maintain customer engagement metrics throughout course of the pandemic:
- More than 100 Government Acquisition Industry Days
- More than 50 RFIs and white papers
- Real time recording and posting of customer calls, notes, and related files within the CRM
It also gives the team a foundation for the future as the company grows to support more contracts, which often means operating in more classified environments.
Shortly after AnaVation pushed its CRM live, Salesforce announced Hyperforce, which is built to deliver an even more powerful and scalable platform leveraging the agility of the public cloud. This means AnaVation will be enabled to:
- Choose to store data in a particular location to help support its compliance with regulations specific to their company, industry and region
- Take advantage of the elasticity of a public cloud environment, accessing compute capacity as required to be more flexible and efficient
- Leverage Hyperforce’s security architecture, which limits users to the appropriate levels of access regarding customer data and thus helping to protect sensitive information from human error or misconfiguration. Encryption, at rest and in transit, comes standard
“Our secure internal rollout models the same strategy we recommend for our customers to take advantage of a modern commercial offering in environments that are typically restricted to using yesterday's technology,” said Medonos. “It gives us the ability to spend more time on the mission, and more time building and maintaining innovative tools for our client.”