ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

What to Look for When Selecting DoD Software for Your Organization

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

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Since 2006, when Odyssey began, we have worked with many companies and have listened to them describe their day-to-day pain points. We’ve heard just about everything a company and its employees experience as they muddle through the ever-evolving mandates and compliance measures required to do business with the Department of Defense.

 Every organization can agree that DoD Commerce is no trivial matter and that choosing the right DoD solutions software can be difficult. We want to re-focus the way DoD suppliers and other organizations view DoD commerce, as well as demonstrate all that is possible through an integrated cross-departmental solution, specifically designed for DoD suppliers. We’ve listened to our customers and colleagues and have put together our best advice.

Companies should ask themselves the following questions when comparing DoD commerce software platforms.

Will it be a simple transition?

When researching software solutions, be sure the software you are reviewing doesn’t cause any stress on your organization’s internal IT department or force further management or overhead to operate. Fundamentally changing your process will cause more harm than good. A simple transition will guarantee employee buy-in and better results.

Is integration possible?

DoD tasks should not be seen as events occurring one after another. The most successful companies have integrated departments, resulting in efficiency and ensuring 100% compliance throughout the entire process. Look for a software solution where integration is possible from award to payment.

Is it scalable for long-term success?

Scalable solutions allow companies to grow and plan for future requirements that are not yet mandated or not yet impacting current business. When comparing software solutions, be sure to find one that can easily scale up or down, based on the myriad of criteria that could affect the organization in the long-term. Fully scalable solutions for DoD suppliers is key to successful business.

Does it unite your organization?

DoD commerce tasks should not cause discourse between departments and stakeholders. Ensure that a proposed solution brings your team together for a common goal and does not require part of the group to continue using unrelated software. A collaborative software solution will help organizations see the best results.

It’s important that internal champions within a company, just like you, care enough to seek new, efficient and effective ways to successfully complete DoD tasks in one solution. It takes leaders to change the way an organization views DoD Commerce. Understand the impact of change and convey your message to peers and authorities with conviction.

Also, be sure to keep these questions in mind when researching software solutions. If you have questions, or would like to learn about using Odyssey as your DoD-approved software and commerce solutions provider, we would be happy to speak with you. You can contact us here

 

Topics: DoD approved software, dod software, department of defense, dod commerce solutions

Why You Should Care About Data

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 @ 13:06 PM

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Data has become critical to our lives over the past 30 years. It has changed the way we are educated, entertained, and even how we do business. The sum of all the data created, captured, and replicated is rapidly increasing and will only continue to do so.                                                           

The amount of data created worldwide will increase by tenfold by 2025, according to a recent white paper published by International Data Corp (IDC). The paper, titled “Data Age 2025”, says that because of the major increase in data, organizations will have to prioritize which portions to manage and how. Organizations that don’t manage the data correctly could lose revenue, provide poor customer experiences, and suffer operational inefficiencies.

“As data grows in amount, variety, and importance, business leaders must focus their attention on the data that matters the most,” says IDC. “Not all data is equally important to businesses or consumers.”

The white paper predicts that virtually every organization will somehow be impacted by the increase in data. There are a few key trends organizations can expect to see by 2025.

Enterprises will create the bulk of the world’s data

Data Age 2025 predicts that one of the biggest shifts will come from new data sources, as enterprises will soon replace consumers as the primary creators of the bulk of the world’s data. The study says that organizations will create 60 percent of the world’s data in 2025. To provide additional context, in 2015, they created less than 30 percent of data.                                           

Data will evolve from business background to life-critical

Once inaccessible and mostly underutilized, data has now become essential. When defining “life-critical”, IDC says:

“Data usage is being analyzed by its level of criticality as indicated by factors such as the need for real-time processing and low latency, the ad hoc nature of usage, and the severity of consequences should the data become unavailable (e.g., a medical application is considered to be more consequential than a streaming TV program).                                                                                            

IDC estimates that by 2025, nearly 20% of the data in the global datasphere will be critical to our daily lives and nearly 10% of that will be hypercritical.

Data is mobile and in real-time

It is increasingly more important for data to be instantly available whenever and wherever anyone needs it.  Businesses everywhere are transforming their digital platforms to meet these requirements. In fact, IDC says that real time data will grow at 1.5 times the rate of overall data creation and by 2025, more than a quarter of data created in the global datasphere will be real time.        

These predictions and insights could impact virtually every organization, but they are especially important for suppliers to the Department of Defense (DoD). For example, our industry maintains a vast amount of information like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Item Unique Identification (IUID) to effectively track and ship products, meet DoD requirements and complete transactions. Because of the advances in technology, data is more crucial than ever to remain competitive. 

Our clients rely on us to provide accurate, real-time data every day to keep their businesses running and prospering. With the data that our DoD-approved software provides, our partners can:

  • Make better informed decisions
  • Increase productivity and efficiency
  • Reduce the number of errors made
  • Lower operating costs

These trends will only continue to drive the world of data in the years to come. By collecting and analyzing the right data, DoD suppliers can save time, money and resources getting the job done. Executives and data professionals should keep a close eye on these trends and adapt their strategies as needed. We wrote about this a little more in depth in April when discussing 2017’s biggest data trends. You can learn more about our data-driven services here.

 

 

Topics: data, department of defense, DoD, DoD approved software, UID, RFID

4 Trends Shaping the World of Data in 2017

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 @ 13:04 PM

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Data is commonly defined as, “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” With the help of technology, the process of collecting and analyzing data continues to evolve and is now bigger than ever. Businesses are relying on mass amounts of data to gain insights into their customers and meet their objectives.

Data is especially important for suppliers to the Department of Defense (DoD). For example, our industry maintains a vast amount of information like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Item Unique Identification (IUID) to effectively track and ship products, meet DoD requirements and complete transactions.

We’ve noticed a few trends that are shaping how we use data, and these trends aren’t slowing down in 2017. 

Data volumes continue to grow

As the internet of things (IoT) continues to grow, the amount of data created worldwide is expected to increase tenfold by 2025. That’s a lot of data. In fact, according to an International Data Corp (IDC) white paper, “By 2025, an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with connected devices nearly 4,800 times per day – basically one interaction every 18 seconds.” 

From a business perspective, organizations need to be strategic about what portion of that data to manage and how to manage it. If not done correctly, organizations could lose revenue, provide poor customer experiences and suffer operational issues. 

More and more data moves to the cloud

Due to the increasing amount of data, organizations are taking more of their applications to the cloud and out of their data centers.  Data centers can be expensive to manage, especially for small businesses, and companies today don’t want to be required to lock in for multiple years to on-premises equipment. 

The cloud is based on subscription services, is scalable to your business needs, and offers greater flexibility. There are many benefits to working with cloud service providers that offer the big data processing platform, as well as the expertise. For these reasons, many organizations have already moved to the cloud, and even more will follow suit.

Many of the DoD suppliers we work with enjoy the ability to work in the same dashboard as their coworkers located around the country. All data in the dashboard is updated in real-time through the cloud.

Companies place great importance on security

Although a slow process, companies seem to finally be catching on to the importance of data security and are putting resources toward it.  And as more companies than ever are relying on data, they will be forced to evaluate and improve their privacy and security procedures. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, 50% of business ethics violations will be related to data.

We want immediate gratification

Today, most everything can be done with the click of a button, leading customers to demand instant gratification. The same goes for companies when it comes to their data analytics. Executives and managers want to see analytics that offer immediate, actionable data. Gone are the days of waiting hours or even days to get answers and insights. Real-time data programs, like Odyssey, offer the ability to make accurate and real-time decisions, based on the data provided. Fresh, timely insights will be more important than ever. 

These trends have already emerged, but they will only continue to drive the world of data in the years to come. All businesses, especially those working with the Department of Defense, should see themselves as data-driven companies. Executives and data professionals should keep a close eye on these trends and adapt their data strategies as needed.

By collecting and analyzing the right data, DoD suppliers can save time, money and resources getting the job done. Learn more about our data-driven services here.

Topics: cloud computing, data, IUID, RFID, department of defense

DoD Shipment & Invoice Submission Made Easy

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 @ 15:03 PM

We know that completing Department of Defense transactions in iRAPT can be difficult. However, we also know it’s a necessary part of doing your job.  This can prove challenging for many DoD suppliers. With Odyssey, you no longer have to log into iRAPT and work manually to complete a successful transaction.  

 The iRAPT Console’s “Transmit iRAPT Documents” feature makes it easy to submit required shipment and invoice information to the DoD.

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Here’s how it works.

Click on “Transmit iRAPT Documents”. 

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Select the document ID you would like to submit.  Choose the appropriate pay mechanism, like “Combo” or “Fast Pay”, and associate your invoice number to the transaction. From here, discounts, fees and attachments can be initiated.

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You can also create a receiving report for review that doubles as a government approved packing slip.

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When you are ready to submit, use the iRAPT Console’s point-and-click submission to send your transaction directly to the government database iRAPT.

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You can email the data directly to your QAR from Odyssey or log in to iRAPT, and it appears as if you manually entered it yourself. 

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In the world of DoD commerce, time and accuracy matter. Odyssey’s iRAPT Console is the most efficient and effective way to complete your DoD transactions.

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Learn more about our iRAPT Console here. You can also watch a full video demo here.

Topics: iRAPT, department of defense, DoD, DoD approved software, simple, easy to use software

What To Know About Corrective Action Requests

Posted by James Lusk on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

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Recently, we have had many discussions with Department of Defense suppliers about corrective action requests (CARs) and how to address them.  In fact, we have heard more about CARs recently than we have in our last 11 years of service. Our DoD approved software can help.

What is a Corrective Action Request (CAR)?

A Corrective Action Request (CAR) is commonly defined as, “A formal notification sent to a supplier, where an item or process is in nonconformity and a remedy is required.”

CAR’s ask that the cause of nonconformities of a product, process, or service be eliminated, with the objective of preventing recurrence and are normally determined during quality assurance activities. These non-conformances are resolved through corrective actions. Each organization will have its own specific CAR form, process and procedures.

Levels of Corrective Action Requests

The DoD has four levels of CARs. The level depends on the severity of the nonconformity and the level of supplier management visibility required to properly address corrective actions, according to ACQ Notes.

Level 1

  • Issued for a nonconformity that can be corrected immediately and where no further corrective action response is necessary.  
  • The issue is not considered systemic, significant or recurring. 

Level 2

  • Issued when contractual nonconformity cannot be corrected right away.
  • Problems that involve Critical Program Impact items, Safety of Flight or critical safety items are determined a Level 2 CAR, at a minimum.
  • CARs should be directed to the supplier management level responsible for initiating corrective actions.

Level 3

  • Issued to the supplier’s top management to call attention to serious contractual nonconformity.  
  • Because of the severity of a Level 3 CAR, the supplier must acknowledge receipt and understanding with a due date.
  • There may be contractual remedies involved, such as reductions of progress payments, cost disallowances, business management systems disapprovals or more.

Level 4

  • Issued to the supplier’s top management when a Level III has been ineffective.
  • May also be issued if the contractual nonconformity is serious enough to warrant contractual remedies, such as suspension of progress payments or product acceptance activities.

How To Overcome Corrective Action Requests

DoD suppliers are constantly challenged by evolving requirements. The data associated with these requirements, and coupled with the demands of unrelated governmental websites, often leads to nonconformities and CARs, and it diminishes the profits of a DoD supplier’s business. 

We believe that today’s DoD commerce requires an IT platform that can make sense of requirements and provide an automated environment to easily react and respond in real-time.  Our DoD approved software provides the peace-of-mind that companies need to complete DoD transactions.

 The Odyssey platform offers fully-scalable solutions for organizations of all sizes and structures including:

  • Small businesses
  • Non-profits
  • Large publicly traded companies

To learn more about how your organization can overcome and avoid this all too common problem, please CLICK HERE.  We offer many services that will help you take corrective actions immediately.  If you are a supplier wrestling with DoD Commerce, please contact us to learn more about the Odyssey platform, designed specifically for DoD suppliers.       

 

Topics: DoD approved software, corrective action requests, CARs, department of defense, dod compliance

Squash Errors with Odyssey’s UID Module

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 @ 10:02 AM


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Managing UID tasks and compliance is difficult and tedious, and without a robust solution in place, you can be left with many errors.

 

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Odyssey’s UID Module can be your one-stop for all UID needs.  

Here’s how it works, step by step:

Click on the UID Construct Manager to begin creating new UID MIL 130 N Labels.

 

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The UIDs can be created in multiple formats, such as Construct 1 or 2, as well as custom, and in any quantity.

 

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You can also import files that include UID data already created.  Odyssey will validate the uniqueness of each UID to ensure it is compliant and ready for use.

 

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And with Odyssey’s embedded UID feature, you can efficiently manage pedigree building activities.

 

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Because the UIDs are housed in an integrated solution, it’s easy to associate either a single end-level UID, or a parent UID, and its subsequent children to a specific transaction located within iRAPT console.

 

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The data will then flow from Odyssey via direct DoD integration to iRAPT for payment and then to the UID registry for compliance.

 

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Lessen your chance of error, increase your chance of opportunity for compliance and efficiency, and let Odyssey’s integrated UID module manage your tedious UID tasks. 

 

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Learn more here. You can also watch the full video demo here.

 

Topics: UID, MIL 130 N, errors, dod compliance, department of defense

Should Your Company Switch to the Cloud?

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 @ 11:12 AM

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To Cloud or not to Cloud? As ‘The Cloud’ has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the past few years, many companies are asking themselves if it’s time to switch from their current software solutions (or lack thereof) to cloud computing.

 Research from International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that worldwide spending on cloud services could double from almost $70 billion in 2015 to over $141 billion in 2019. A different study from SearchCIO indicates that 73% of organizations planned to deploy cloud services by the end of 2015 and the rest plan for the end of 2017. Why are so many organizations switching to the cloud? 

We’ve put together a few reasons why the cloud is a big deal:

 Simplicity & Flexibility.

The dramatic ease of implementation is a strong reason for adopting cloud services. For large organizations, installing and going live with new on-premise software can take years. With cloud software, it takes significantly less time to get started, sometimes a matter of weeks. Often times, an organization’s circumstances change and priorities, resources and budgets can shift, which stalls traditional time-intensive IT projects. However, cloud software can easily adapt as your organization changes and grows.

With Odyssey, there is no software to install, manage or maintain. There are also no updates to purchase, disks to load, or internal IT specialists needed.  The platform creates a compliant, transparent and repeatable process while eliminating the logistical underground.  This ensures that the DoD process is standardized and simple for you.

Level The Playing Field.

Moving to the cloud gives everyone access to enterprise-class technology, whether you are a large company or small business. The cloud allows smaller businesses to act just as fast as or even faster than big, established competitors, while remaining lean and nimble.

Cloud software even levels the playing field for large companies. Large organizations that have employees working in multiple locations can communicate and work together in real-time.

By harnessing the most dynamic software available through the cloud, Odyssey’s dashboard levels the playing field for all organizations and users. Odyssey’s cloud-based services ensure DoD commerce and compliance is managed in real-time, with full mobility, and no forced overhead or additional IT management or support.

Increased Collaboration.

Speaking of Odyssey’s dashboard, cloud computing enables employees situated in various locations to collaborate easily.  Being able to view and edit documents in real-time alongside colleagues in different physical locations leads to increased productivity and higher quality work. By providing simultaneous syncing, working and sharing documents and records in real time, cloud computing helps increase the collaboration and efficiency of your employees.

For example, with Odyssey’s software, your shipping and logistics, contract, sales and accounting departments can all work together in real-time to complete DoD commerce. There’s no redundant data entry, no back and forth handing off of documentation and no opportunity for error.

Reliability & Consistency.

One of the main complaints we hear from business owners who are considering switching to Odyssey is that they want to focus on the work that really matters. They are too distracted by the inconsistencies and headaches of multiple tools and manual processes. With a cloud-based software, everything is automated and streamlined to help you finally leave those headaches behind.

In the world of Department of Defense commerce, many companies don’t have software and rely on manual data-entry government websites. As you can imagine, manually entering the same data multiple times into unrelated websites can take a substantial amount of time and effort. With Odyssey’s software, companies don’t need to enter or manage any RFID or UID code data. The cloud platform takes care of everything. Our partners have transformed their DoD commerce by streamlining the entire work-flow process into a review environment, rather than relying on manual data entry. This ensures reliable shipments through a consistent and simple process.

Up-To-Date Results.

With the cloud, your organization will always have up-to-date software. You won’t have to worry about upgrading software each time a new version is released. Cloud software automatically updates without you having to think about it.  

In addition, your organization will always have access to up-to-date analytics and results. Because everything takes place and can be viewed in real-time, cloud-based platforms provide insights that you might have missed otherwise. And, in today’s world, businesses are expected to provide these insights on how to improve processes and everyday functions for their clients.

Odyssey offers a myriad of reports notifying management of transaction status, completed work, expected revenue, market analysis, competition survey and wins and losses. In addition, we work closely with the DoD to implement and distribute all upcoming DoD compliance changes throughout the cloud. Your organization will always be up-to-date with DoD requirements.

Have we convinced you yet? It’s time to switch to the cloud! Learn more about how we can help you here.

 

Topics: cloud, cloud computing, department of defense, DoD, DoD approved software