DOD procurement app gets upgrade

Col. Jacob Haynes says DOD will install SPS at more than 70 sites.

Olivier Douliery

The Defense Department has begun using the latest version of the Standard Procurement System, an acquisition application for users to perform speedy contract placements and administration functions.

American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., shipped SPS Increment 1, Version 4.2 of its Procurement Desktop Defense software in April. It features multiple delivery and designation schedules and customizable templates and is more user-friendly and flexible than the previous version, Defense officials said. Many interfaces link contractors with various Defense divisions, such as acquisition and logistics.

DOD began deploying the latest version of SPS in June to 800 users at 14 Army sites. The older version is used by 22,000 users at nearly 800 sites. By the end of the September, DOD will install the software at more than 70 sites for 2,600 users, said Col. Jacob Haynes, SPS program manager.

Linda Beckner, functional division chief for SPS, said users complained that the previous version of SPS lacked space on the screen to enter all necessary data. With the new version, 'the user will see individual segments, blocks for them to enter the data,' Beckner said. 'This will eliminate the number of user entry errors and provide more accurate data.'

It will also increase the accuracy of Defense payments, Beckner said, which could save money. Last year, problems with payments cost the department $36 million in interest charges, Beckner said.

From front to back

On the front end of SPS, a contracting official can place a purchase request. Accounting officials use the interface at the back end of the system to pay the bills.

'This all fits into our end-to-end environment,' Beckner said.

'We changed our entire business process internally,' Haynes said. 'We worked within cost. We met the schedule.'

DOD awarded the 10-year, $241 million SPS contract to AMS in 1997. Defense brass expect 43,000 contracting officials to use the system once it is fully deployed.

Defense had several problems with previous versions of the system. In 1998, due to the significant number of system deficiencies and inaccuracies, the Office of Test and Evaluation determined that the SPS software was neither effective nor suitable for administering large procurement contracts.

The office called for immediate action to correct the deficiencies before DOD rolled out the system departmentwide.

Haynes said AMS rectified the software problems and that he is confident the latest version will pass operational testing later this month.

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