NASA advancing Virtual Procurement Office

NASA Virtual Procurement Office

NASA plans to move its Virtual Procurement Office into a new phase that

offers personalization and enhanced communication between the contracting

office and program officials.

The VPO is an online system NASA developed to provide a central place for

the agency's contracting personnel to find and use governmentwide and agency-specific

regulations. Almost a year after going live, the system is in wide use throughout

NASA, and the agency is speaking with the Justice Department and others

about transferring the system.

But within NASA, there are plans to move the VPO into Phase II, which will

provide enhancements including personalization of the system and automatic

communication between the contracting office and program officials on procurement

status, said Tom Deback, VPO team leader and a procurement analyst in the

NASA headquarters' contract management division.

The personalization feature will enable an individual to log on and pull

up all of the procurement actions he or she is working on, eliminating the

need to perform a search. It also will have an "auto-fill" capability, which

should be available within the next year. Auto-fill will relieve users of

having to repeatedly enter information such as contractor and vendor name,

contact numbers, e-mail addresses and solicitation numbers.

"I want auto-fill really, really badly," Deback said. "I think it's going

to save people a lot of time and frustration."

Helping the auto-fill feature will be a procurement data warehouse the agency

is developing that will integrate all data systems within each NASA center.

It will enable the auto-fill feature because the VPO will be able to pull

contract information from the data warehouse, Deback said.

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