SEWP V Opens Up to Web-Based Research, Line Item Order Tracking

While SEWP has always been a contract that provides a lot of help to its customers, SEWP V will take that a step further by giving its users detailed data that will let them track orders at the lineitem level, and also perform market research on the products they want to buy.

The ability to track orders is something that SEWP customers have asked for in the past, so they can tell exactly what people are buying which products and better plan for procurements. While the program office tracks orders in the broad sense, and can provide total business amounts, it’s never been able to give out data that can tell users exactly what they bought and sold during the year.

That’s something that’s always grated on Joanne Woytek, the SEWP program manager. The plan is for SEWP V to provide an automated ability for users to come to the SEWP website and look at the data that’s specific to their agency. The problem is that the data belongs to the agency even though it’s the SEWP program office that collects and stores it.

“It isn’t our data and we can’t give it out to everyone and anybody,” Woytek said. “We want to make sure that the right people at an agency are the only ones able to get to their data, though if they want other people in the agency to also get to it, we’ll have a control for that.”

Right now, the program office is giving agencies this type of report manually, when they request them, in the form of Excel spreadsheets. At least that’s a step up for the agencies, which, until now have had to track their own orders and do the analysis by hand. Plus, it gives the SEWP program office a change to evaluate if it’s giving its users what they want.

Meanwhile, it’s looking for a good tool that can be used on the SEWP website that will give users the ability to find their tracking data, while also ensuring the security of that data so that non-authorized users can’t access it. It will probably take “the next few years” before SEWP will have that capability, Woytek said.

There’s better news when it comes to market research. The program office has for a time been able to do that kind of research on request, but the goal is to provide a way for users to simply go to the SEWP website to do market research, and figure out what their best options are for procurements before they issue requests for quotations.

“We’ll have a tool that I’m excited by, and I’m not often excited by programs I didn’t write myself,” said Woytek. “But I think it will be really cool to give customers the ability to come and combine a catalog sort of view, which is available today, and also ask for market research on products and look that up at the same time.”

The automated SEWP tool, which Woytek hoped would be online by the end of June 2015, will also let agency users interact directly with SEWP contract holders, so the program office will not have to act as a go-between.