Acquisition

As GSA's Acquisition Gateway grows, contractors could gain access

The General Services Administration's Acquisition Gateway just turned one year old, and now has over a dozen product categories to explore -- if you're a federal employee.

The information posted on the gateway is meant to provide extensive, detailed information, everything from best practices in how to buy IT to prices paid and contract templates to models in how to implement them -- all with an eye to helping federal program offices draft better requirements and federal contracting officers negotiate better deals.

The gateway does not, however, allow federal contractors or the public to see the information posted there, because of possible procurement sensitivities.

That could change, though.  In a Nov. 5 blog post, John Felleman, senior innovation specialist for the Acquisition Gateway, said GSA is looking for ways to allow non-federal audiences to look through the hallways. Vendors have been pressing for access, as interest in the resource grows among suppliers to the federal market.

In responses to online questions, a GSA rep said back in April 2015 that  Common Acquisition Platform team "has committed to creating the kind of role specific authentication you are asking about by the end of this calendar year." Sensitive pricing, source selection and proprietary information must be protected, but probably 99 percent of the site "is suitable for public viewing." 

Felleman also wrote in his Nov. 5 post that GSA's work on the portal is shifting from wrangling the categories to honing their navigability, interactivity and usefulness of the tools and resources.

A year ago, the portal had just three product categories -- IT hardware, IT software and administrative support.  Now, according to remarks by Laura Stanton, acting assistant commissioner of GSA's Office of Strategy Management, at ACT IAC's recent Executive Leadership Conference, the agency has ramped up to 17.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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