Onvia Business Builder (www.onvia.com, 800/484-3374), aimed at companies that want to do business with the government, provides vendors, contractors and others with timely, industry-specific, in-depth government business "intelligence" regarding upcoming and ongoing opportunities, from both historical and real-time perspectives.
The information is delivered daily as an e-mail report. The accumulated and customized information is designed to facilitate the contractor's ability to locate opportunities in the public sector that match its own business objectives.
The data-providing service, which is subscription-based, gives online access to Onvia's complete procurement archive for 55,500 government purchasing offices at the federal, state, local and education levels. The detailed agency information and buyer profiles are in an easy-to-use, customizable format, enabling contractors to identify and target appropriate projects.
archive can be created to
provide a complete
Subscribers can see data organized by project, owners, buyers and vendors, with results broken down by industry category and location. By viewing competitors' histories in the public sector, the developer points out, a subscribing contractor can identify significant patterns among all contractors who are active in government work. Users can see the chronology of events for the entire lifecycle of a project with all key details, including Advance notice (a.k.a. the "pre-RFP" stage), Bid with the actual bid as published, Planholders/Bidders Lists, Bid results and Awards.
Onvia Business Builder is an enhancement of Onvia Guide, the developer's daily e-mail report service that delivers bid notices, requests for proposal and contracting opportunities to subscribers each business day. (Onvia gets data from postings and monitoring of media from public agencies, professional associations and private companies.)
Each Business Builder subscriber receives a daily compiled report as a Microsoft Word or PDF attachment, with information on all the relevant opportunities, as per the subscriber's customized profile. The information is for the geographical region in the contract with the data for each opportunity sorted and categorized.
Every opportunity carries a link to relevant-information, which is retrievable online. The number of leads received depends on the subscriber's selected categories and coverage area, with pricing dependent upon the coverage opted for and the number of offices that will use the information.
Here are two more subscription-based hosted services solutions that can help contractors manage projects. Autodesk's Buzzsaw and Bricsnet's Project|Center each offer a secure, centralized location for storing and sharing information and tracking all activities within a project. Because they are hosted, no additional hardware or software is required and no software needs to be installed.
For either solution, the subscription is usually "sponsored" by the project's prime contractor or owner, who typically encourages or even mandates participation of subs and other project team members in order to reduce process cycle times. If the service works as intended, the streamlined collaboration cuts review and response time, expediting decision making and ensuring that everyone is looking at the same updated data. In addition, these environments reduce copy, delivery and shipping costs related to sending out paper plans and other documents.
Project|Center (www.bricsnet.com, 603/559-2522) is a Web-based project management application designed, the company notes, to improve the way projects are managed and building teams communicate. The passwordprotected site enables authorized project participants to organize and access all types of project-related information, including CAD drawings, photos, meeting minutes, sketches and other project documents.
The solution manages any type of document, but it also includes a builtin viewer that allows a user to view and redline more than 200 file formats such as Word, Excel, AutoCAD (.dwg and .dwf) and MicroStation (.dgn) without having the native application. Project|Center keeps track of all file versions and comments, as well as all actions taken on those documents such as uploading, downloading and viewing, thus creating a historical record as the project progresses. A CD/DVD archive can be created at the end of the project, providing a complete project record.
Project|Center provides configurable workflow applications such as RFIs, issues tracking, change orders, submittals, field reports and approvals. These applications increase the efficiency of the building process and help the project manager keep track of details.
Project managers have the ability to create custom reports that gather information from one or multiple projects.
Buzzsaw (www.autodesk.com/ buzzsaw, [email protected], 866/815-3501) is a collaborative project management solution that facilitates the planning, building and operating phases of the building lifecycle. It provides an online workspace where all contributors can collaborate on plans, specifications, drawings, and other project-related information. The site and project administrators control access into the online workspace.
A site-level executive "dashboard" screen enables managers to oversee multiple projects at a glance and lists all action items for all site members across the projects. The project-level executive dashboard gives a high-level view of important project data and lists all action items for all project members. Personal dashboards show all action items and important information for that team member, per individual project and across all projects.
William and Patti Feldman write for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics.