GSA: Just wait 'til next (fiscal) year
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Aug 14, 2000
The General Services Administration has decided to delay rolling out its
revamped online shopping portal until after the new fiscal year begins.
Bill Piatt, GSA's chief information officer, said the upgraded GSA Advantage
World Wide Web site will be delivered this month but will not be ready for
business until Oct. 2. "We're going to hold it so nothing brand new is introduced
in the high-buying season," he said.
The new GSA Advantage site, which cost about $4 million, will be easier
to use and more intuitive than the current one and will enable GSA to create
agency- specific virtual stores and add other personalized features, according
The agency will use the next seven weeks to thoroughly test and fine-tune
the site. "When we roll out in October, it will have been tested out the
wazoo and ready for prime time," said Al Iagnemmo, e-business division
director at GSA's Federal Supply Service.
Computer Technology Associates Inc., which designed the original GSA
Advantage site, teamed up on the new project with four other companies.
BroadVision Inc. provides front-end customization features; Sybase Inc.
provides integration with back-end systems; Verity Inc. provides the search
engine; and KPMG LLC provides support services.
Mark Phillips, CTA executive vice president, said he supported GSA's decision
to delay the launch, which he likened to commercial stores unveiling a new
purchasing vehicle the week before Christmas.
Advantage lists more than 1 million products from 2,300 vendors and
will conduct about $125 million in business in fiscal 2000, according to
Iagnemmo. He expects that number to reach $500 million in fiscal 2001 and
$1 billion the following year.
The new site enables GSA to set up "virtual stores" for agencies, and
the first one will be for the presidential transition team, Iagnemmo said.
"We're setting up their offices on the Hill, making credit card arrangements
and setting up the presidential transition team store so when they need
office products and computers, it will all be there for them," he said.