Each year, the DOD Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) reviews 100+ competitive grant applications for the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot (DCIP) Program and Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (DMCSP). This rapid 6-week review process involves stakeholders across the DOD, and is critical to the success of the core mission of the agency. Two major technical challenges that impede this process include:
Previous solutions to this challenge were either highly manual or had complex IT Infrastructure and code requirements – both extremes were error-prone, labor-intensive to troubleshoot, and accrued technical/process debt. Andworx developed a more efficient solution using the Microsoft Power Platform to bring low code and automation to the OLDCC competitive grants process.
Andworx goal was to build a fast, accurate, easy-to-maintain solution for data transfer along with an intuitive, functional tool to enhance consensus review. Leveraging the Microsoft ecosystem of Microsoft Power Platform tools, Andworx set to improve data quality and extend platform accessibility for stakeholders. Through the highly customizable Microsoft Power Platform we transformed the OLDCC grants process by:
Step 1 — Use Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft SharePoint to get applications into OLDCC system.
Using Power Automate as a data transformation engine, Andworx was able to leverage the native export and import functionality of the two systems. This approach reduced the complexity of the solution, took advantage of existing functionality to decrease development time, and allowed for manual validation of data quality.
Step 2 — Use Microsoft Power Apps in Microsoft Teams to facilitate Consensus Review.
Using Power Apps embedded in Microsoft Teams, Andworx was able to visualize review scores in an intuitive and interactive format. This approach eliminated the need for manual data manipulation in spreadsheets, simplified the review process, reduced dependency on ongoing IT support, and accelerated the review timeline. Loaded with relevant review data from the OLDCC GMS, the one-screen canvas Power App has several features:
Sharing the app through Teams made it easy to share and a familiar experience for reviewers, regardless of their service branch or DoD Agency.
By leveraging Microsoft Power Automate and Microsoft SharePoint for the system-to-system transfer, Andworx was able to achieve the shortest upload time of any previous process or solution (a few hours vs. several days in the previous year) with zero data loss from the original grants.gov package. This in turn led to higher confidence in the process for stakeholders, reduced rework, and saved reviewer’s time. Long term, technical debt of IaaS services and complex code was eliminated in favor of low-code Power Automate flows saved directly in the Microsoft tenant.
The Microsoft Power App in Microsoft Teams presented an easy-to-access, polished, unified tool for reviewers and was received very well – avoiding manual spreadsheet manipulation and data quality issues.
“Rebuilding our processes in Power Platform saved crucial time in a high-profile program execution. What once took nearly a week, with more than 10 people involved, now takes a few hours with a single operator. The time it gave back to our program made the difference for executing approximately $130M in specialized grant funding in 20+ US military communities.”