ASI Government of Arlington, Va., a for-profit consulting, education, training, and information company that specializes in procurement and related services for the U.S. government, has introduced its first mobile app, featuring a key product, the Virtual Acquisition Office (VAO).
The VAO contains material that relates to procurement planning, execution, and contract awards. Included are continually updated information on rules, trends, and best practices; online learning modules, samples, and checklists; a COR (contracting officer’s representative) toolkit; webinars; acquisition help desk; and a daily procurement-related news feeds.
One popular feed is synopses of U.S. GAO (Government Accountability Office) protests from companies that do not receive purchasing contracts, says Lisa Akers, president of the products and solutions group at ASI. If subscribers want in-depth information on a protest claim, they can access a detailed report.
Importantly, the VAO presents information and insight into what ASI terms “the art of acquisition,” Akers notes. This basically involves how best to develop procurement programs that guarantee the maximum return to taxpayers.
ASI has more than 25,000 government subscribers who could download the app. Akers explains that the government is also hiring many people in procurement who are comfortable with digital media and receptive to mobile apps as a way of staying connected when they are on the go, commuting, and in meetings or other activities.
Among the unique features that ASI plans for the app is audio files, which will permit users to listen to information instead of only reading it.
ASI works with more than 130 federal agencies and every cabinet department. Of these, 10 percent of clients are in national security, 33 percent are civilian agencies, and 47 percent are involved in intelligence.
The company’s annual revenue from government work is $50 million, Akers says. The company’s expertise in procurement has generated major savings for federal departments. “In one case involving intelligence we saved one office some $2 billion,” she notes. ASI has also freed up amounts ranging from $2 million to $25 million in single actions for other departments.
ASI has a memorandum of understanding with the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), which trains government procurement specialists. DAU wants more training sources, Akers says, and is looking at offerings that ASI can provide.