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Abacus Technology

"For the first time, we are actually reading from the same book as our customers. CS/10,000 has narrowed the gap between the contractor and the customer."

Dick Pectol - Vice President of Abacus Technology


Abacus Technology, a Chevy Chase, Maryland-based systems integrator, is taking high technology contracting to a new level by using Client/Server Connection's CS/10,000 software to help win contracts with the federal government. With over 13 years of contracting experience for federal government agencies such as DISA (the Defense Information Services Agency), GSA (General Services Agency), the Library of Congress and the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), Abacus Technology has undergone many grueling proposal cycles.

"Often a DOD (U.S. Department of Defense) proposal would take an entire year to turn around," says Dick Pectol, Vice President of Abacus Technology Services. "One of the most difficult aspects of proposal generation is trying to estimate projects that involve new technology - there are no databases of past projects available and it is difficult to estimate project costs." In order to streamline Abacus's proposal process, Pectol initiated a search for tools that could plan, size and estimate projects.

In April of 1996, Abacus was introduced to CS/10,000. "I knew immediately that CS/10,000 was exactly what we had been looking for," Pectol recalls. "It integrates project planning, sizing and estimation into one tool."

Abacus Technology proceeded with the purchase of a 10-user license of CS/10,000 and installed the software on their corporate application server, enabling users to access the software over the corporate LAN which spans two buildings. Within two weeks, Pectol had his staff fully up to speed on CS/10,000.

Four projects in the early stages of the proposal process were slated for CS/10,000 development. When the projects got underway, the Abacus Technology staff was surprised to discover that the very agencies for which they were preparing proposals had also adopted CS/10,000.

"I quickly learned that several of our clients such as the Library of Congress, GSA, DISA and FDIC had already purchased CS/10,000," says Pectol. "The fact that we had this technology in common actually helped us win two large contracts with the GSA and DISA because it validated our proposals and provided confidence in our cost estimates. Since everybody in the DOD knows about CS/10,000, we quickly gained an edge over our competition." Abacus used CS/10,000 throughout the proposal process.

In the early proposal stages, CS/10,000 was used primarily as a background study tool. As the company entered the requirements gathering stage, the process was greatly simplified since Abacus's clients were also using CS/10,000. "Our contractors and customers both opened up CS/10,000's Advisors and walked through the questionnaires together," notes Pectol. "The process was very straightforward because we were both reading from the same book. CS/10,000 narrowed the gap between the contractor and the customer."
Pectol observes, "We found the Architecture Advisor particularly useful, since it allowed us to quickly generate architectural models on the fly. In addition, the amount of information beneath each architecture enabled us to easily validate our selections."

The team then used CS/10,000's Task Advisor to generate detailed project plans for all four projects. "CS/10,000's project plans cover everything you could imagine," Pectol says.

"CS/10,000 really provides a lot of great ideas - with everything you decide not to do, you're taking a risk. Our clients love this because it provides validation that we will have complete control over the project, and we won't inadvertently miss any important steps."

Pectol's team also used CS/10,000 to win a $1.2 million legacy migration project that manages the disposition of hardware and software supplies for 7,000 military users. The Automated Resources Management System (ARMS) involves migrating a legacy application from an IBM mainframe to an HP9000 Server running Oracle. Netscape's Navigator will be installed on all of the clients, and the Internet will be used to connect all the remote users.

"CS/10,000 significantly reduced the amount of time to get the ARMS proposal out," says Pectol. Abacus will continue to utilize CS/10,000 for proposal generation and architectural modeling. "But right now," Pectol states, "we are excited about using CS/10,000 to implement the new projects that CS/10,000 helped us to win!"

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