Privia: Streamlining Complex Proposals

Jay McConville, President & CEO
Privia is a Virginia-based capture and proposal management software and services company that enables organizations bidding on commercial, federal, state or local contracts - and their teaming partners - to securely collaborate, boost win rates and lower costs. In this interview, Jay McConville, President and CEO of Privia, elucidates the company’s offerings, their uniqueness, and the roadmap for future.

What led to the inception of the company?

Privia has been in existence for more than a decade. At the core, we are a Proposal Company. We automate the challenging processes our customers face when responding to federal, state, and local government requests for proposal (RFPs). We originally formed to provide a centralized, virtual workspace and a series of collaboration tools for organizing, executing and standardizing the capture and proposal process. Today, we have over 10,000 users streamlining the proposal process in a seamless, automated way to respond successfully to a variety of requests.

How does Privia mitigate the primary challenges in this realm?

The modern distributed workspace is plagued with challenges, from connecting silos of people and information and making it easy to leverage that knowledge against multiple opportunities, to bringing teams together to collaborate effectively. What’s more challenging is overcoming these challenges in a way that is affordable and not disruptive to the business. Having been ‘in the trenches,’ working in this industry, our team has first-hand knowledge and expertise in proposal management and the difficulties involved in complex bids.

Both our corporate and government customers in the distributed workspace must pull people from scattered geographical locations to come to a common place and write a proposal together, which can be an expensive, time-consuming and frustrating endeavor. Our approach addresses this situation by bringing teams together to collaborate virtually, without having to physically co-locate, waste their valuable time, or expend the financial resources needed to support traditional methods.

Also, there are multiple ways of responding to a request for proposal. We provide easy workflow development through our “Process Designer” tool, which enables organizations to ensure effective coordination and progress while attending other responsibilities, without having to be proposal experts. This moves multiple different response types through the process efficiently and let’s people concentrate on the work, not the process. Privia reporting helps the proposal manager monitor status to keep the team on track and helps team members stay on target with tasks and deadlines. Our goal is to relieve our customers of the end-to-end administrative burden involved in what it takes to win new business. The automated workflow alerts and simultaneous reviewing and commenting of documents are critical for keeping the team on track and for increasing the quality of work-product and the ever-important reviews. As the team grows more efficient in content production, and collaborates effectively on reviews, they have more time to focus on quality and executing a winning strategy. As the win rate increases, Privia also helps our customers organize and collaborate on delivery activities and documents across multiple simultaneous proposals, all with advanced configuration management and control tools.

Additionally, most of our customers look for a proposal management solution that provides them with a secured workspace where files are shared across the workflow, but have access and security controls built in. With Privia, the data is searchable, given security constraints, and reusable from proposal to proposal, ensuring our customers maintain their established security, version and access configurations while having access to the best of their corporate knowledge and the status reports they need to analyze and improve their processes.

What is the delivery model that Privia follows in its software implementation?

We offer both on-premise and implementation within the cloud. Significantly we just announced Privia’s Government Cloud as well. Our solution aligns with the ongoing trend of the geographically dispersed workforce. We support implementation with Professional Services and have a Proposal Consultant Partnership program as well, so that our customers get all the expert support that they need to win.

Privia ships pre-configured, allowing the customers to leverage proven, industry best practices and/or customize them with our designer tool. The customers can select and launch a proposal process at their convenience, creating their own virtual workspace with self-picked members for their proposal effort.
Or they can tailor best practice processes, or design from scratch, to suit how they work.

The highly configurable and integrated aspect of our solution provides the right edge to our customers for tailoring to their specific requirements. For instance, if a business development manager has identified an opportunity using some common search tools or commercial tools, they can easily import those opportunities directly into Privia through one single download, without data entry. Their opportunity is put into an opportunity pipeline enabling them to manage it with all the attachments and data that is associated with that opportunity, saving a considerable amount of time. When they are ready to bid, they merely select a process, launch the workspace, pick their team, and they are off and running.

Whether using an out-of-the-box best practices or a tailored process, upon creating the virtual proposal environment (i.e. the “workspace”), the process is automated. The proposal manager coordinates the team virtually, the team searches and reuses content and then collaborates real-time through reviews. This controlled review process, and ease of comment reconciliation, is an effective product feature that many of our customers find beneficial. Additionally, Privia also brings robust reporting of the proposal process so bottlenecks don’t become delays and teams can analyze and improve.

How do you distinguish Privia from its peers in the industry?

We are proposal managers and thus understand our customers’ pain points. Since we have been in our customer’s shoes, we comprehend their every requirement and act upon that to support them with a higher degree of customer intimacy. Privia’s proposal software functionality has basically been crowd-source developed over a decade of use on billions of dollars of proposals. We also have a Privia Partner Program with multiple partner companies who are specialized government and commercial proposal consultants. These unique partners are experts in the industry and have been using Privia and the workspace tools for a long time. This not only provides them with the expertise to understand Privia but also the capability to advise and consult our customers for their proposal process activities.

Privia's workflow and virtual environment is very user-friendly. We provide the out-of-the-box solution people need to maintain and grow their business – and it’s easily configured by the proposal team, reducing the reliance on IT. Can it be customized? Absolutely. But it’s not a requirement. Is it reusable? Yes – from proposal to proposal, workspaces and process are reused to save time, but are adjustable mid-proposal, and easily improved over time.

Could you exemplify Privia’s effectiveness with some of your customer success stories?

One of our customers had a geographically dispersed workforce, spread across multiple time zones around the world. This customer wanted to produce proposals rapidly, which seemed far from feasible using traditional methods. Using virtual workspaces to support the proposal process, we enabled the customer to work on their proposals 24 hours a day, remotely. The senior management was able to access normally siloed information and knowledge from across their organization and in no time they were able to increase their total number of proposal responses, increase the quality of those responses, and win more without any significant increase cost.

What does the future look like for Privia?

Going forward, we are focused on expanding our Proposal Partner Program by being constantly on the lookout for people who understand the intricacies of capture and proposal management. Undoubtedly, the Government Cloud was a significant expansion for us, which made our solution available to organizations that needed the same economy of scale, data security and process capability the cloud delivers, but with the compliance government customers require. We also have a small business cloud offering that lets smaller companies access the majority of the enterprise solution’s capability, but at a reduced cost – and best practice configured to accelerate implementation. In May, we presented our latest version of Privia, Privia 5.13, at the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) Bid & Proposal Con conference in San Diego. This new version features an improved search capability and a “content library” capability we designed in response to customer requests, among other improvements. We also plan to continue to enhance our integration capability with external systems, such as SpringCM, FBO, Deltek GovWin, and Salesforce, among others.

Company
Privia

Headquarters
Herndon, VA

Management
Jay McConville, President & CEO

Description
Provides comprehensive capture, proposal and document management software backed by industry expert consulting services that streamline the end-to-end bid and capture process

Privia