Procurement portal gathers support

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is garnering support for its proposal

to make the Electronic Posting System the single point of electronic entry

to government business opportunities.

In a May 16 memo, Deidre Lee, administrator of OFPP, said that she is

recommending EPS as the single point of entry for all opportunities over

$25,000.

Over the past few years, EPS has become the de facto point of entry

for business opportunities, with at least 14 agencies signed up to use it

to post solici- tations, synopses and related information.

In her memo, Lee asked the Procurement Executives Council's electronic

commerce committee to review her proposal. Late last month the committee

threw its support behind EPS.

"There were not any serious concerns raised by the EC committee," said Dave

Derr, associate deputy assistant secretary for acquisitions at the Department

of Veterans Affairs and chairman of last month's e-commerce committee meeting.

"Single point of entry using EPS is not a problem for us. I think that's

the general opinion."

Agencies would not have to discard their existing systems in favor of EPS;

they could interface with it, Derr said.

For example, the VA was one of the first agencies to use EPS after the

initial pilot two years ago. Now, about 25 VA purchasing offices use the

agency's Business Opportunity System to post solicitations, which are then

immediately posted to EPS. By the end of this fiscal year, all VA sites

will be on-board, Derr said.

The changes Lee is proposing include making Federal Acquisition Computer

Network postings automatically available on EPS. FACNET was established

to give agencies a standard method to electronically buy goods and services

from vendors using electronic data interchange, but it failed as a governmentwide

single-face solution.

Other proposed changes include automatically posting EPS notices to

the Commerce Business Daily so that agencies do not need to make separate

postings to each system. Currently, any notice over $25,000 must be posted

in CBD.

Eventually, EPS could offer much more than simple postings, said Ken

Stepka, a procurement analyst at NASA. EPS was developed by NASA and redesigned

by the General Services Administration for governmentwide use.

"This is just a start," Stepka said. "This is the nucleus of starting a

much more featured government portal." For example, the Air Force is developing

a feature that enables vendors to securely post proposals in response to

a synopsis.

While OFPP appears close to mandating EPS as the single face to industry,

the road has been a long one. "It's gratifying to see that it's finally

occurring after all the time and effort that have been poured into it so

far," said Tony Trenkle, director of electronic services at the Social Security

Administration.

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