Mission: A better procurement database
- By Diane Frank
- Jul 11, 2000
Federal acquisition executives met with industry representatives Monday
to outline the planned transition from a 20-year-old procurement database
to a system that will enable agencies to better tie their procurements to
The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) began collecting information
on agency procurements in 1978. Since then, the types of information that
agencies need and the systems they use to collect that information have
changed and multiplied, leaving agencies, the private sector and Congress
with an out-of-date system for more than $200 billion in federal procurement
"We either needed data to do our jobs or data to perform our missions
that we couldn't get out of the system," said David Litman, vice chairman
of the Procurement Executive Council and senior procurement executive for
the Transportation Department's Office of the Secretary.
So the PEC, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the General
Services Administration formed a steering committee and began developing
a new system — the Federal Acquisition Management Information System (FAMIS).
FAMIS will save agencies the time, money and personnel now devoted to
maintaining "feeder systems" for getting the performance-related information
they need before sending procurement data to the FPDS.
"The opportunity to put those funds to better use is going to be the
central point of our business case," said Bill Mounts, director of international
and commercial systems acquisition at the Defense Department.
FAMIS also will help agencies find out how their acquisition functions
are affecting their ability to comply with the Government Performance and
Results Act, whether they are meeting their small-business goals and many
other business-related functions.
"If [procurement executives are] going to be business leaders, we're
going to need the data to perform that leadership," Litman said.
Industry representatives expressed concern that the steering committee
will not be able to bring all of the different agency requirements into
a single proposal, which could lead to increased customization and more
However, when the committee issues the request for proposal sometime
before the end of the year, it will have one focus and one system, said
Jack Finley, deputy director of governmentwide information systems at GSA.
"We want data to be put in once, [and] we want it to be accurate and
user-friendly," he said.