Scientific Proposal Management

One of the largest Institutes at the National Institutes of Health needed to address a significant roadblock to issuing grants and contracts for critical infectious disease research, including HIV, H1N1, bio-terriorism and Ebola. Nearly $2 billion per year was released to third party research organizations via individual RFP’s that were authored from within this Institute. Because of the amount of funding available and the number of diseases studied, up to 50 RFP’s could be under development simultaneously. Each RFP had over 40 content process steps… each step with multiple permutations depending on the RFP type and budge amount.

Their homegrown system of using email and folders to generate RFP funding documents was significantly backlogged. Lack of automation meant that the same RFP document was reviewed multiple times by the same people. The shear number of RFP drafts and versions was measured in many thousands per year and were often stored on users hard drives and in their individual Outlook accounts. Status of any given RFP document was determined by multiple phone calls and emails sent across the divisions within the Institute. Even moderately detailed measures and tracking metrics were impossible to obtain.

The Institute’s Scientific and IT leadership mandated the development of a new solution to address these issues. The solution had to be simple, taking less than 30 minutes to learn (some people would only use the system once per year). All versions would be tracked and available, but hidden unless needed. Users could access all RFP documents but could not delete or modify the RFP unless it was their turn in the workflow process. A social media solution also needed to be integrated to remove the need to coordinate on the phone or face to face. Finally, a new RFP process had to be initiated within 12 hours of a request.

InFuture LLC first helped the client determine the appropriate technologies, which involved the integration of three different mainstream ECMS vendors. InFuture LLC also led the redesign of the BPM document processes reducing the number of review steps by 65% and the RFP release time by 50%. Emails relating to the development of the RFP’s dropped by over 90%.

Because the IT resources at this Institute were limited, InFuture LLC also managed and led the SDLC for the solution and acted as Program Manager for the entire effort. InFuture LLC also developed and conducted user training.

The final solution allowed management 100% visibility into the status of 50+ simultaneous RFP development efforts, many global, and also improved the quality of the RFP documents. Today, important research is started much earlier because of this client’s desire to overcome significant process and technology challenges using ECMS capabilities and InFuture LLC.