GSA's new award-management system offline right after launch

The General Services Administration officially launched its System for Award Management July 30, but it's down now until Aug. 6.

According to an announcement on the Federal Service Desk website, it's experiencing performance issues. "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to bring the SAM site down," the announcement states.

"We are working with the project’s contractor IBM to resolve the current issues," a GSA spokesman said Aug. 3.

SAM is a central database for federal contracting data. GSA has completed the first phase of a long and bumpy transition away from outdated information systems, combining several governmentwide databases in a bid to become more efficient.

SAM includes three Integrated Acquisition Environment systems: The Central Contractor Registration system, where companies register certain business information prior to being considered for contract awards; the Online Representations and Certifications Application, where firms submit certifications on matters such as firm size and ownership status; and the Excluded Parties List System, which is a record of the companies suspended or debarred from federal work.

In 2008, GSA began consolidating its portfolio of systems into the integrated system, although it’s hit some bumpy roads along the way. GSA did not respond to requests for more details about the problems SAM experienced.

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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Mon, Oct 1, 2012

I'm responsible for maintaining a large company's registration in SAM - which is full of stupid errors that are impossible to fix - and even if this thing were operating correctly, do we REALLY need to go through and validate every section to change one field?? Never thought I'd say this - I MISS CCR!!

Mon, Sep 24, 2012

This is far worse than CCR. There is no way to contact anyone if something doesn't work and you can't get into your account. I am writing my Senators and letting them know if they want to help small business they need to get rid of this red tape so we can get paid.

Thu, Sep 6, 2012

Tried to set up new entity and it timed out during registration. Now, my Duns is in the system, but I cant go in to finish registration--err, no Cage Code issued. I called to figure out s solution, but lines have been busy--CONSTANTLY! I wrote the FSD help desk and that was a waste of time. Been over two weeks now and still no response past "your issue has been recieved and we will help you shortly." Ummm, where's the help? I don't mean to be that guy, but this seems illegal. You can't offer Gov Contracts and then make them open to only those whose "entity information" happened to be one of the lucky ones that got accepted. Does this not seem strange to anybody. Basically you're saying--"hey, I know you make you living off of working with the government, but we can't find your entity's info in SAM so you don't get anything." Wow, really? Does anybody else have a suggestion? Does anybody know of petitions or complaints that people are signing? This is downright wrong and people without 3-4 months of stockpiled cash are going to be left out on the street. The worst part is that they're going to be put out even though they did everything they were supposed to do.

Wed, Aug 22, 2012

What a mess this is. I don't know who to reach out to for help beyond pages of "guidance" for something like IRS consent which does not recognize tax payer name this time around. I'd pull all my hair except it's a scare resource.

Tue, Aug 14, 2012

of course they would make the change when i'm trying to automate this process

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