As a government body within the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for regulating all aspects of civil aviation in the United States as well as its surrounding international waters. The agency oversees the construction and operation of airports, air traffic, certification programs, and safeguarding U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles.

Demand for technical support across the many airports, service centers, and headquarters operated by the FAA is extremely high. In order for operations to run smoothly, the organization enlists the help of over 1,200 contractors through the NISC (National Airspace System Integration Support Contract) program. This is a national contract which provides critical professional, technical, and planning assistance to a wide range of FAA organizations that support both the existing National Airspace System (NAS), as well as those organizations tasked with the planning, development, and integration of NextGen services.

By having this service contract in place, the FAA reduces the likelihood of procurement delays and fulfils capital projects for the NAS by being able to draw on the expertise of these contractors to carry out support tasks across the United States.

Overview

For technical support and procurement tasks to run efficiently, the FAA required a secure portal to share and collaborate on information externally with contractors and vendors, as well as with internal stakeholders.

 

Huddle has enabled both our employees and our contractors to securely collaborate. I can't imagine leading acquisitions right now without Huddle.”

Kevin Van Haren, Acquisition Lead, FAA NISC

 

Challenges

Prior to using Huddle, the NISC program office had been using Microsoft SharePoint to share information during the NISC contract acquisition process. However, the acquisition teams had been finding it difficult to keep track of work, manage feedback, and control file versions as revisions were made. 

Strained systems

An increase in remote working and excess strain on the VPN also meant access to organizational systems was restricted, adding further potential for delays in technical and procurement projects. As a result, the team needed a high availability cloud-based platform which could be accessed from anywhere with minimal downtime.

These were all important problems to solve and led the team to start looking for a collaboration platform which would enable them to modernize their program and reduce dependency on in-person meetings, and poorly functioning systems.

 

“When looking to collaborate on the components of a contract, the team had a lot of issues around version control which would often lead to duplication of work, particularly by those in procurement working on contract proposals and projects. It was frustrating to decipher which version we should use, we would have to manually give the file a new name, date stamp and put our initials beside it for even a minor change to a given document.”

 

Reliance on existing internal resources and IT personnel 

Users found the SharePoint platform difficult to use as they were unable to set up new project workspaces and sites easily. This led to teams becoming increasingly reliant on in-house IT personnel to make basic changes to existing sites, or to create new ones as they progressed along the two-year procurement cycle.

Documentation often contained sensitive information – particularly about proposals and plans, and the FAA team had limited visibility into who had access to the documents when using SharePoint. To overcome this, teams often resorted to less efficient, outdated, or insecure means of file sharing and collaboration. 

Finding a solution

The team evaluated several external collaboration platforms to streamline the way it collaborated on procurement documents, both internally as well as with potential vendors and current suppliers. They needed a solution that would be easy to implement without heavy reliance on in-house IT resources and that would increase visibility into file access - all while meeting the FAA’s security standards.

After much consideration, the NISC team chose Huddle - a FedRAMP authorized solution, for its ease-of-use and secure Workspace model. Staff can easily work on, collaborate, and share information around the pre-award phases of the procurement process, as well as post-award interaction with the prime contractor and their many sub-contractors.

Operating during COVID-19

The FAA were in a fortunate position when COVID-19 was spreading across the world. With minimal assistance from the 24/7 Huddle support staff, the FAA team had already created multiple Workspaces prior to the outbreak. While they did not know a global pandemic was about to hit the U.S., having their Workspaces set up in advance allowed them to continue working on proposal evaluations without any delays. 

Why the FAA chose Huddle 

Secure cloud-based Workspaces

Using Huddle, employees at the FAA can quickly and easily create secure cloud-based Workspaces where they can collaborate with contractors on technical support and procurement projects across its many airports, service centers, and headquarters for NAS. Within these Huddle Workspaces, both FAA employees and external parties can work on files together, automatically manage revisions, consolidate feedback, and even manage tasks and approvals, all in one secure space.

All activity is tracked, allowing the FAA to monitor how users are interacting with files. Activity is also logged in a time-stamped audit trail for future governance and auditing purposes.

Keeping content secure

Not only does Huddle’s FedRAMP authorized platform ensure sensitive content is kept secure when it’s being shared and worked on, but it also provides increased confidence to users who require a simple and scalable solution for use cases involving external collaboration and granular access controls.

The FAA team responsible for the NISC contract has full visibility into who has access to what documentation, and Workspace Managers can easily change user permissions if a member of the team leaves the organization.

Collaboration is easy in Huddle

Once they have the documents they need, it’s easy for the FAA team to edit, view, add comments, and request feedback on open documents in Huddle, and benefit from its integration with Microsoft Office Online – allowing teams to easily co-edit content. Huddle’s automatic version control means that everyone always has access to the most up to date version of the file.

Mangers at the FAA found it hassle free to get up and running and roll-out Huddle across internal and external teams, enabling vendors to fulfil contract obligations for the NAS. Workspaces can be created in minutes, without any of the bottle-necks characteristic of most legacy solutions.

 

"Huddle has enabled us as a team to operate virtually, saving hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars each year, enabling us to continue operations as normal. Without it, we would probably have had to put a hold on the contract evaluation process, which could have resulted in significant job losses.’’         

 

Learn more about how U.S Government Agencies and Contractors use Huddle to reduce risk and improve security when sharing and managing documents, coordinating multi-agency projects and working with private-sector partners. Or contact Huddle today to find out how secure document collaboration can transform your organisation. . 

Get a Demo And Try Huddle For Free


Request a Demo

© 2006 - 2021. All Rights Reserved.