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What SRC Got Out of Its Proposal Software Implementation

Scientific Research Corporation (SRC) pursues opportunities in commercial and defense markets around the world and has operations spanning six continents. SRC Proposal Coordinate Sarah McLain said “We’ve been successful throughout our 20-year history, but not without a lot of stress and anxiety among our proposal staff and leadership.” Some of the problems they sought to address through proposal automation included:
  • Ineffective proposal processes that resulted in confusing, ad hoc practices
  • Inconsistent file structures and the lack of a central repository for intellectual property
  • Essential information was difficult to find
  • Shared servers and hard drives were inaccessible by remote personnel
  • Some repositories lacked the security to prevent unauthorized users from accessing or changing documents
  • It was difficult to locate subject matter experts
  • Coordination between team members across multiple locations and business areas was problematic
  • In-person proposal reviews led to high travel costs that stretched marketing and bid and proposal budgets

While researching proposal software choices, McLain said, “We found that Privia offers the best, most secure collaborative environment, making it possible for people from Djibouti or Ireland to participate seamlessly in document creating and review.” Privia’s security features do a lot more than just preventing people outside the company from seeing sensitive information. They also provide a means of structuring and controlling workflow. “I can set someone up to make comments on a document, but not edit it directly,” explains McLain, “That way, I can leverage their expertise while retaining control over the specific language used in the proposal.” Another key attribute was Privia’s flexibility. “The solution didn’t lock us into a single industry category. Because we operate in commercial as well as government markets, it’s essential for us to have a solution that supports both equally well.” With Privia:

  • SRC now has an online collaborative workspace for each opportunity, where RFPs, background materials, and works in progress are managed consistently.
  • Subject matter experts and reviewers can log in at any time, from any location.
  • Participants get instant notifications when a document is ready for their input
  • Presence detection and chat features facilitate real-time coordination
  • Granular security and permissions help capture and proposal managers make the best use of each contributor, including subcontractors.

SRC also used the software to create several resources that benefit everyone involved:

  • They set up a cross-divisional library that enabled them to bring together business development documents and opportunity data that spanned different locations and business areas for use in proposal development.
  • They created a resource that team members company-wide can use to search and access corporate marketing materials, industry intelligence, corporate experience narratives, and employee resumes.
  • They were even able to take advantage of Privia’s flexibility to enable separate divisions to each follow different practices for business development and opportunity tracking where required.

More efficient, lower costs, and improvements in quality of life

At the time this was written, Privia had already been used by teams of 5-50 members to develop more than 10 major proposals with a combined value in excess of one billion dollars. Streamlined processes have reduced scheduling bottlenecks. Participants are making better use of their time. The ability to set Privia permissions on individual opportunities and documents has more clearly defined responsibility and accountability. “Before, we were spending huge amounts of money on travel to get people together in a single room,” says McLain, “For one proposal, we spent $5,000 to send four people to a review in Charleston, South Carolina. With Privia we’ve moved that kind of work online, saving money on virtually every proposal we create.” Privia has earned its keep at SRC.

Although SRC primarily intended to improve its proposal development efforts, using Privia has also improved the quality of life for the company’s employees. Says McLain, “People really appreciate not having to come in over the weekend or deal with unnecessary frustration. They’re a lot happier and more productive, and that’s been a great benefit for our business.”


By Carl Dickson, Founder of

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