GSA Advantage gets personal
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Mar 12, 2000
Users of the General Services Administration's GSA Advantage online shopping
site will be able to have their own customized version of the site beginning
Through a deal with Computer Technology Associates Inc. (CTA), GSA's Federal
Supply Service plans to enhance GSA Advantage to deliver personalized product
and service information to users. Users will view a personalized screen
displaying information they provide to the system.
For example, an Air Force user may see an Air Force screen when logging
on, and immediately have access to Air Force content such as aircraft-related
products or agency-specific purchasing policies, said Bob Ardrey, program
manager for the project at CTA.
"Rather than having the user click on all the buttons to see what's new,
the system will know as soon as they log on they are an Air Force user,"
In addition, the site will suggest related products buyers may be interested
in purchasing, based on either past buying habits or the current buying
session. A user who plans to buy a printer, for example, may be directed
to printer ribbons that are also available on the site.
The new features are similar to what is offered on commercial sites such
as Yahoo.com and Amazon.com.
"The government is giving us the opportunity to build a world-class system
that's more user-friendly and attractive," said Tom Velez, chief executive
officer and chairman of CTA. The more the government buys online, the more
money it can save, Velez said. "The Federal Supply Service sells electronically
only a small percentage of what" is available for sale to agencies. "We
hope that percentage will go up substantially."
CTA, which designed the original GSA Advantage site, teamed up on this project
with four other firms: BroadVision Inc., to provide front-end customization
features; Sybase Inc., to provide integration with back-end systems; Verity
Inc., to provide the search engine; and KPMG LLC, to provide services.