IT marketplace on tap

The Army Small Computer Program (ASCP) next month will complete an upgrade of MarketPlace Direct, making it the first e-commerce system directly accessible through the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) portal.

MarketPlace Direct is a governmentwide, Internet-based solution that enables customers to identify, evaluate and purchase against established information technology contract vehicles everything from hardware and software to networking and infrastructure services.

The tool is designed to improve purchasing practices, reduce transaction costs and improve the overall customer experience, said Marian Keitelman, MarketPlace Direct team leader and product leader for ASCP.

The enhanced solution, which can be used by the Defense Department and other federal agencies, is being merged with ASCP's Web site to form what the Army is calling an information technology enterprise-mart, or IT e-mart.

"It will be seamless to the user, just like commercial sites," Keitelman said earlier this month at the ASCP IT conference.

Appian Corp. is helping the Army build and refine the new site. The Vienna, Va.-based company also built the AKO portal.

Registered AKO users will automatically be signed up at the IT e-mart, and profiles will be established for them. But outside users can also browse the catalogs and set up preliminary shopping carts before having to log in if they want to make a purchase, Keitelman said.

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