Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy Fall 2021 Release

GSA's Federal Marketplace Strategy Fall 2021 Release delivers a mix of policy, process, and technology project updates and improvements to modernize and simplify your buying and selling experience. Check it out and share your feedback by joining our FMP Strategist Network.

Project Improvements

The Contract Acquisition Lifecycle Management System (CALM) is live and being used by a portion of the FAS acquisition workforce to award new contracts. With 100% of pilot users reporting that CALM saves time and reduces processing steps and data entry, we're optimistic that CALM will help improve cycle times and responsiveness as our user group expands.

CALM provides the GSA acquisition workforce with a common contract writing tool that will standardize the supplier experience, provide greater visibility into the process, and assist our workforce with automations and data re-use wherever possible.

  • Improvements for Workforce

    CALM is used to:

    • Create acquisition workspaces,
    • Select clauses and provisions to create all types of solicitations,
    • Synopsize and issue solicitations to both Contract Opportunities and eBuy,
    • Intake vendor offers,
    • Conduct source selection,
    • Award contracts and administer them.

    CALM dashboard features, including a variety of graphics, help users and managers see work in progress.

    With more robust functionality, Phase Two of CALM improvements will include:

    • Requirements definition,
    • Acquisition planning,
    • An updated vendor portal supporting RFQs,
    • And integration with GSA's financial system.

    The next phase of CALM will also see the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program transition to the system. Receiving user feedback throughout CALM's development and transition process allows for continual updates so that all stakeholders benefit from a modern, efficient, contract writing system that works for them.

    Please contact FASCWS@gsa.gov to learn more!

GSA developed the Verified Products Portal (VPP) to collect authoritative product content from manufacturers and their authorized partners, and a new connection with GSA Advantage!® makes this information available to customers for purchasing decisions. Information from the VPP (such as product descriptions, images, and PDFs of user manuals and installation guides) will supplement contractor-submitted catalogs as the information becomes available. The availability of authoritative product content in the federal marketplace improves both the customer and supplier experience.

To learn more, review Q&A on Interact.

  • Improvements for Customers

    Displaying VPP content provides customers access to product descriptions, pictures, and other salient details when making purchasing decisions, especially when viewing the same products from different sellers.

  • Improvements for Suppliers

    Participating manufacturers and wholesalers can ensure their products are accurately represented in the federal marketplace.

GSA has moved forward with developing the new Common Catalog Platform (CCP), a web-based, API-enabled user interface for managing the catalog data associated with products and services offered through GSA's federal marketplace. The CCP will replace antiquated technology, integrate with contracting systems, introduce new functionalities that make it easier to manage catalogs, and improve the quality of catalog data collected.

  • Improvements for Customers

    The CCP will further improve the quality of data available in GSA Advantage!®

  • Improvements for Suppliers

    In FY22, GSA will develop the CCP for Multiple Award Schedule catalogs. The CCP, which will replace the current Schedule Input Program (SIP), will allow suppliers to easily submit and manage their own catalogs. It will integrate with contracting systems and reduce the amount of time suppliers spend managing their catalogs.

  • Improvements for Workforce

    The CCP will allow the GSA workforce to more quickly review and approve catalog uploads and pricing modifications submitted by suppliers. It will integrate with GSA contracting systems, eliminating the previous two-step process required to review and approve catalog files.

When a Request For Quote (RFQ) results in zero responses it can really delay an acquisition. Currently, customers don't have access to meaningful data indicating why an RFQ doesn't receive a response. To encourage supplier feedback for "no quote" RFQs, eBuy is replacing "other" as a choice in its "no quote" response option, allowing users to instead select "I would quote if" and provide the reason why they didn't respond to the RFQ in a text box. This enhancement will be available to all users in Q1 FY22.

Today, suppliers are unable to select an RFQ from a list in eBuy, review it, and go back to their previous place in that list. The system automatically returns users to the top of the list. eBuy will correct this action by making a small enhancement to the system.

Other eBuy enhancements expected in Q1 FY22 will support Second Generation Information Technology (2GIT) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) buys. Email notifications to prospective bidders from eBuy for 2GIT RFQs will soon include key information about the requesting agency, like customer location. Today, suppliers have to log in to eBuy to view this information. Receiving this additional data via email will speed everything up - suppliers can make decisions about quotes more quickly, get responses to customers faster, and ultimately help customers get what they need sooner.

2GIT's Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) certified/authorized suppliers will be identified with a new icon and 2GIT suppliers can use a new RFQ quote template.

  • Improvements for Suppliers & Customers

    The "I would quote if" option gives suppliers the opportunity to explain to customers why they are not responding to an RFQ with an offer.

    Adding the ability for users to return to their previous place in a list of RFQs makes it easier and quicker for suppliers to differentiate between RFQs of interest. This increase in system usability promotes overall supplier usage of eBuy to find opportunities and leads to faster and better suited offers.
    Without logging in to eBuy, 2GIT suppliers can find key information about opportunities and make quick, informed decisions on responding to RFQs.

    2GIT customers can easily identify SCRM certified/authorized suppliers because of the new icon in eBuy, giving them confidence in purchasing compliant products.

Buyer Experience

GSA measures customer satisfaction on GSA's new Commercial Platforms program via buyer surveys, Meet the E-Marketplace demonstrations, and in-depth buyer interviews. Initial findings are quite positive with an overall satisfaction rate of 9.4 out 10, and high marks in areas such as:

  • Time savings, with 90% of buyers feeling that they save time when using the Commercial Platforms program.
  • Competitive pricing, with 93% of buyers agreeing or strongly agreeing that prices are competitive on the platforms.
  • Buyer tools, on average over half of buyers agreeing that the program gives them the necessary tools to avoid counterfeit items, access small business vendors, and locate AbilityOne items.
  • Improvements for Customers & Suppliers

    This inventory of customer experience information allows GSA to provide participating platform providers with real-time feedback for future enhancements. It also gives participating agencies direct feedback from their GSA SmartPay® Purchase Card (GPC) holders.

Warranted contracting officers (COs) (appointed pursuant to FAR 1.603) must request a Delegation of Procurement Authority, or DPA, before issuing orders from GSA's Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) for IT services. In the past, multiple DPAs were needed to order from more than one contract. GSA now offers one DPA for all IT category GWACs.

If you have questions about DPA Training, please visit Request a GWAC Delegation of Procurement Authority

  • Improvements for Customers

    While this training is for anyone with a role in acquisitions, warranted COs must complete it before requesting a DPA authorizing them to issue orders against all GWACs, including:

    • Alliant 2
    • VETS 2
    • 8(a) STARS III
  • Improvements for Workforce

    Instead of three separate training sessions, the FAS workforce can conduct a single GWAC DPA training that is more robust and allows staff to spend more time helping customers.

As part of improving the buyer experience, the Federal Marketplace Strategy is developing an online, self-service portal to assist customers in preparing for and completing an acquisition.

In FY22, this new portal will help users:

  • Find and compare GSA contracts.
  • Access commonly used documents and templates to help with acquisition planning and documentation.
  • Explore pricing of services supported by multiple sources of actual government purchasing data.
  • Develop Independent Government Cost Estimates using an interactive tool.
  • Use the information and documents found or created on the site to purchase through GSA Advantage or post solicitations through eBuy.

As the site matures, more features will be added and some existing GSA tools will sunset. In the first release, the functionality and data in the Price Estimating Tool, which supports the OASIS and OASIS Small Business contracts, has been combined with the CALC (Contract Award Labor Category) tool to simplify pricing research.

  • Improvements for Customers

    Coming soon!

    • Users will view, bookmark, export relevant templates and samples needed for their project.
    • Guided checklists will help customers prepare an acquisition planning package, providing guidance and interactive tools when appropriate.

    Later this year:

    • The CALC pricing tool will have more contracts, as well as geographical labor rate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to help refine estimates based on location.

    Want to help shape the future of the digital buyer experience? Sign up for the FMP Strategist Network today to participate in various feedback opportunities.

  • Improvements for Suppliers

    The new pricing tool will create an easier way to compare your prices to prices in your industry and provide a single source for pricing research.

  • Improvements for Workforce

    GSA's workforce will access OASIS and OASIS Small Business (SB) pricing data with other services pricing data in one location (CALC).

Supplier Experience

The new and improved Vendor Support Center (VSC) website will go live in the first quarter of FY22. GSA worked for more than a year to make exciting improvements based on industry and acquisition workforce feedback. The previous VSC used outdated technology and had lots of old content that was too hard to find. The new VSC is a user-friendly, searchable, up-to-date one-stop-shop where all industry partners can get the support they need when doing business or seeking to do business through the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). Please subscribe to the MAS Interact group to get the latest VSC news sent straight to your inbox.

  • Improvements for Suppliers

    With the Vendor Support Center (VSC) refresh, suppliers will have an improved user experience that includes:

    • A dynamic search bar, our number one request.
    • A new Help Desk and GSA point of contact locators directly on the homepage.
    • Three-step navigation that aligns with the contractor journey, whether they are prospective contractors or have been doing business with MAS for years.
    • Our new MAS Project Center page, home to special project resources like "Consolidation" - this means contractors no longer have to search across the internet to find important resources for each project.
    • Updated content that uses plain language to make sure information is easy to understand and carry out.
    • A new site design that aligns with other GSA websites, such as GSA Advantage!, providing a more integrated user experience.

Services Marketplace

8(a) STARS III provides flexible access to a wide range of customized IT services-based solutions including cybersecurity, IT help-desk support, information assurance, and more from a large, diverse, and highly capable pool of 8(a) vendors.

The enhancements in this third iteration of the STARS contract focuses on meeting agency needs for emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotic process automation and more. 8(a) STARS III also incorporates a designated scope sub-area for OCONUS requirements.

Built on the success of 8(a) STARS II, this new Best-in-Class, small-business set-aside IT contract is an example of GSA's efforts to support small businesses while meeting ever-evolving agency requirements. The 8(a) STARS III contract vehicle was added to eBuy in July 2021.

For more information on 8(a) STARS III and to get a free scope compatibility review, visit www.gsa.gov/stars3.

  • Improvements for Customers

    The 8(a) STARS III small business set-aside GWAC provides customers with flexible access to customized IT solutions from a large, diverse pool of 8(a) industry partners. Customers can review and submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) against the new 8(a) STARS III contract in eBuy.

  • Improvements for Suppliers

    The contract includes two new sub-areas, and offers access to more than 400 small businesses with demonstrated experience in IT services solutions, including emerging technologies and OCONUS locations.

  • Improvements for Workforce

    Pre-competed, easy-to-use contract with streamlined ordering procedures based on FAR 16.505, which saves the workforce time and money.

Journey Maps

Supplier Journey Map

As a supplier, you go through a series of interactions in different phases to sell solutions in the federal marketplace.

GSA is listening and making improvements to your experience with us and in the federal marketplace! With each release, you learn about what GSA is doing to improve the experience in different phases of the acquisition journey.

Customer Journey Map

As a customer, you go through a series of interactions in different phases of your buying experience for the acquisition of goods and services.

GSA is listening and making improvements to your experience with us and in the federal marketplace! With each release, you learn about what GSA is doing to improve the experience in different phases of the acquisition journey.

Last Reviewed: 2021-12-21