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The Move to Searchable Digital Directories

January 1, 2014
By Kent R. Schneider

In past years, the January edition of SIGNAL Magazine would have been labeled “The Source Book,” the print directory of all of AFCEA’s corporate members. This year, we have eliminated the print version and are presenting the AFCEA Corporate Member Directory along with five functional directories that are fully searchable.

AFCEA’s primary mission is to promote an ethical dialogue among government, industry and academia. These digital directories further that mission by making all of our members aware of everyone else in the market and by promoting teaming.

In today’s complex and cost-sensitive market, few companies are able to pursue programs alone. Most contracts now mandate small business teaming, and skills are needed from a variety of partners. The AFCEA directories are ideal for finding the right skills and the right partners—large or small businesses—to meet business needs. We have added granularity so that users can find precisely the skills that are needed. And, keep in mind that these directories are global, containing all our corporate members around the world. Whether a company is in Europe, Asia-Pacific or the Americas, it can team nationally or globally—which is particularly important when bidding into NATO or another multinational organization.

To make searches easier, in addition to the Corporate Member Directory, we have created five functional directories: Cybersecurity, Education, Health IT, Homeland Security and Intelligence. This helps users find exactly the products and services that might be sought in these critical areas. All the listings in these directories include contact information, business focus, products and services, clients, contract access and certifications. Each is searchable by corporate name, business categories—this is where the granularity of the functional directories is particularly important—location, small business status and NAICS codes.

We want all our members—government, industry and academia—to use these directories to find relevant products and services as well as to search for teaming partners. But, for it to be as useful as possible, it is important that all our corporate members keep their information current. Companies should make the narrative description of their products and services as detailed as possible. In addition, each corporate member should check all relevant business areas in the AFCEA Corporate Member Directory and in the five functional directories. This will ensure that each company comes up in all appropriate searches.

For our government members and readers, these directories will give a sense of the providers available in the market to supply the products and services that another company may require. While potentially not as exhaustive as a Request for Information or a Sources Sought, these searches are immediate and will provide a sense of availability. Again, these directories are global, so providers everywhere are identified.

Users easily can access the AFCEA Online Directories by going to the AFCEA International website (www.afcea.org). Here, they will find a shortcut to the Online Directories (www.afcea.org/directories). This shortcut leads directly to the AFCEA Online Directories page, where users can access the Corporate Member Directory and each of the five functional directories. Members can search any of these directories, and AFCEA points of contact can log into the portal (www.afcea.org/portal) to update company directory information at any time, which is encouraged strongly for any company that has not visited its entry lately.

Because the AFCEA Online Directories, including the AFCEA Corporate Member Directory, are on the Web, users can access them wherever they go through their smartphones and tablets at the AFCEA or SIGNAL websites. This approach is particularly effective for those who often are on the go. And remember, SIGNAL Magazine has an app that provides the entire magazine in digital format.

If anyone has any questions about populating or updating the directories, or how to get the best results from searching them, please contact Julie Lama at jlama@afcea.org or at +1-703-631-6174.

Happy New Year to all of you and, as always, thanks for all you do.

 

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