Wizard software helps GSA with compliance

An information technology consulting company launched the latest version of its Acquisition Planning Wizard (APW) for the General Services Administration earlier this month. It plans to spread the tool’s usage to agencies using GSA schedules, according to a news release.

Version 3.0 of the Web-based tool, designed by Development InfoStructure (Devis), automatically creates compliant buying plans, speeds the approval process for plans and ensures consistency in interagency procurement processes, according to the release.

Following GSA’s 2004 launch of the Get It Right campaign to promote an efficient and transparent federal acquisition process, GSA selected Devis to design a tool that could build compliant acquisition plans, the company said.

More than 2,000 GSA employees have used APW to create about 5,500 plans, supporting $5 billion in procurements that comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations and acquisition best practices, according to the release.

APW simplifies the planning process, Devis said. The tool relies on official GSA policy to determine the type of acquisition plans needed. It also uses an e-mail and Web-based workflow to coordinate plans from start to final approval.

“Because the tool is constantly updated to reflect the latest changes to federal acquisition policies, it offers both frequent and occasional GSA users the best kind of ‘just in time’ acquisition guidance,” said Martin Hudson, Devis' chief technology officer and APW architect, in the release.

The tool reduces the need for classroom training because it ensures compliance with the specific regulations on different types of procurement, Hudson said.

APW’s technology infrastructure relies on open-source software products, including Red Hat Linux; Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition and JBoss application servers; and PostgreSQL relational database. Using open-source software reduces licensing fees and leaves more resources to invest elsewhere, according to Devis.

Moreover, the technology can be tailored to agency-specific acquisition policies and re-used at other agencies, said Devis’ president, Peter Gallagher.

“APW can help any federal agency comply with increasingly rigorous financial controls while improving the capacity of the acquisition workforce,” Gallagher said.

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