SEC picks Appian for Web-based purchasing

Securities and Exchange Commission officials have awarded a $2.8 million contract to Appian to develop a Web-based purchasing system.

The company will overhaul what is essentially a manual procurement process, said Ambarish Desai, the company’s director of solutions. He said the SEC’s current homegrown system is a combination of paper files and spreadsheet software that lacks coordination among groups.

Desai said company and SEC officials will collaborate and develop what will become a fully automated system using Appian’s Sourcing Process Management solution. The company will first understand the commission’s as-is process, map its business processes and highlight the difference with the new system. The solution is based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation, but will be tailored to meet the commission’s specific rules and needs, he added.

The new system will be able to manage the entire procurement cycle from planning solicitations, evaluating products and vendors, producing purchase requests, and getting approval. It will be able to monitor all activities and processes in real time.

It will allow users to receive automatic notifications when a contract expires, find goods and services, and aggregate purchases to get better prices, Desai said. The architecture will also be flexible to allow new functions and changes.

“Everything will be online, and there will be no time delay,” he said. “The procurement cycle now takes a whole lot longer.”

Desai said officials are also sensitive to the issue of cultural change. He said the SEC will be involved in the development process throughout and deployment will be controlled with continual feedback to make sure the system meets expectations, he said. There will also be a number of sessions to train some SEC employees, who, in turn, will teach their user groups.

Appian plans to deploy the system before the summer.

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