Implement a New Event Management System to Reduce Procurement Costs by 50 Percent
NASA’s agency-wide resource for the professional development of its technical workforce, The Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL), provides more than 80 courses that draw extensively on the knowledge of NASA subject-matter experts to develop NASA-specific content. Its precursor, the Program and Project Management Initiative (PPMI) was founded in 1988 as part of NASA’s response to the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
The challenge to FedStar was threefold:
- Manage scheduling, registration, logistics, evaluation, and metrics reporting for course and knowledge sharing offerings across all 10 NASA Centers in a secure environment.
- Enhance the end-user experience for non-NASA participants from academia, and national and international organizations.
- Reduce redundancy in course management processes and increase contact and response metrics that allow greater responsiveness to training needs, both in single courses and across its curricula.
FedStar conducted extensive market research on web-based event management systems, narrowed the selection, demonstrated required features and functionality, interoperability with the agencies learning management system, and our analysis and recommended solution. APPEL went with our recommendation, and FedStar assisted in the procurement of the selected application. Once the procurement was completed, we worked with the NASA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to vet the security of the system and obtain approval to operate and maintain the system’s annual security reporting requirements.
FedStar’s turnkey solution reduced procurement cost by 50 percent. The logistical communications process with course participants that previously was manually intensive was redesigned so that course location, directions, dress code, and pre-work requirements are now all in one consistent, template-controlled document with built-in confirmation reply capability and can be accessed from anywhere.
Through meetings with key stakeholders, FedStar assessed metrics and reporting requirements and designed a list of standardized questions based off of the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Evaluation Model to be surveyed across all APPEL offerings to provide cross-sectional reporting capabilities. In addition, FedStar developed key resources in support of APPEL’s new event management system, including an Administrators’ Guide, Job Aids, and a set of Business Rules to reduce the learning curve and provide course coordinators with support.
- Acquisition Management
- Project Management
- Business Process Engineering
By implementing a comprehensive system redesign, manual data entry of participant demographic information has been virtually eliminated. This lowered both labor cost and error rate. Communication between course coordinators and participants has been standardized, reducing ambiguity and streamlining logistics. Non-NASA participant data may now be easily collected and reported. More important, designated NASA management has built-in report-generation capability; there is no need to engage an external contractor to provide metrics and reports, saving the Agency both time and money. APPEL now has the capability to access "real-time" data and report on metrics across the entire APPEL portfolio.