System of Systems – the Head of Progress in Federal Acquisition
For nearly 25 years Federal Business Opportunity Forum was used as the System of record to post solicitations and solicit information for federal, state and local acquisition across the Federal Government. The term ‘old habits’ die-hard – has come to fruition as many of (us) in industry and our Govie counterparts alike are experiencing the pains of the ‘New Kid on the Block.’ Similarly, to when FBO was stood up I am quite sure that companies and government officials had a learning curve and transition period from utilizing the old ‘Sun Dial’ and Abacus to review, evaluate and award contracts.
Truth be told – I remember a time where walking through the Desert with carbon copy SF1449’s and SF 30’s to process Definitized Contracting Actions (UCAs) was literally the most innovative way you could complete your mission as a contracting professional. Fast forward to today, I have colleagues at the Defense Contract Management Agency who use ‘IPADs’ and various other electronic devices to streamline the Federal Acquisition Process.
I say all this as I want to remind you and the greater audience, that your pain, is not isolated, unwarranted or coming off as ‘half-cocked.’ Similar, to any change, there will be/always is resistance.
In my professional opinion, and from my observation Beta.Sam. Gov is not nor will ever be FBO as it was never intended to be a replacement for FBO. Beta.Sam. Gov was intended to integrate siloed systems. The figure referenced above demonstrates GSA’s overarching solution architecture for the future state of Sam.Gov. (Removing the Beta).
Imagine a world whereby you are able to go perform research, submit your Bid on a contract, be awarded the instrument and conduct all administration (i.e. invoicing, CPARs etc.) in one environment.
Think of the cost(s)/resources saved for this integration. The future state of Beta.Sam is going to provide extreme utility and streamline the ability for both the Government and Industry to conduct business. Below – I am reposting an article that I think it’s extremely insightful.
[“In the three months since the General Services Administration transitioned to the beta.sam.gov portal for contract opportunities from the decades-old FedBizOpps.gov site, the raw numbers show concerns over the site have settled down. The site has seen almost 900,000 visitors and 120,000 registered users since November. The number of calls to GSA’s help desk is at or below the levels that came in during the pre-transition time.
“We don’t get any more help desk calls or asks for intervention than we did with the legacy FBO. And the calls we do get are generally around two things: how to log in and do multi-factor authentication and the second is how to use the new search features because they look very different than the legacy site,” said Judith Zawatsky, assistant commissioner in the Office of Systems Management in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, in an interview with Federal News Network
Judith Zawatsky is the assistant commissioner in the Office of Systems Management in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.
📷But if you dig deeper, particularly the folks who understand the inner workings of the new site, frustration and disappointment over the transition and functionality of beta.sam.gov continue.
The dissatisfaction came to a head last week when the Professional Services Council sent GSA a letter detailing complaints and concerns brought to them by their members.
The 22-page letter highlighted concerns around four main areas:
· Access challenges;
· Search Parameters;
· The capability to receive contract information;
· Difficulties in how the site displays information.
“[T]he new system has been judged by many of our member companies to be a far cry from its predecessor,” wrote Alan Chvotkin, the executive vice president and counsel for PSC. “And while the respondents included many mid-tier and large companies, feedback from many of our small businesses was particularly critical. The volume, consistency and detail of the responses we received demonstrate how vital this portal is to our partners.”
While some of what PSC highlighted, including questioning the need for multi-factor authentication and the way GSA set up the search terms are more about aesthetics and the need to get used to the new site, there are some real problems with beta.sam.gov.”]
Article Written by: James Miller @Federal New Network
In closing – I’d like you to remember that evolutionary concepts take time. I undoubtedly believe that Beta.Sam will be a world-class platform for both industry and government to collaborate. In reviewing their desired instate for beta. Sam it is apparent that ‘significant thought’ went into the planning and execution. I do believe that are opportunities for commercial providers to develop tools and additional functionality to enable companies to transition to this new environment in a less abrupt manner. Technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Deep/Machine learning and distributed ledger technology as a commercial offering could potentially solve these initial issues of transition and overarching implementation concerns for GSA.
As a business owner and/or Government Acquisition professional, what are some features or tools do you think would help you solve the challenges being faced with Beta.Sam?