Last week, I wrote about the brainstorming that led to GSA’s Common Acquisition Platform (CAP) and the launch of the Acquisition Gateway and its category hallways. One year after we launched the Acquisition Gateway with three hallways and a handful of government-wide contracts, the Gateway is an established tool. The federal acquisition workforce is buying smarter and faster. They navigate the cluttered federal acquisition marketplace with confidence using information they find on the Gateway—details about existing contracts across government, current market trends, transactional data like priced paid, and best business practices.
And now, with 19 category hallways live (these 17 plus Security & Protection and Facilities & Maintenance), our focus has shifted to improving the interactivity and usability of the tools and resources already on the Gateway, as well as adding new ones like Project Center, Solutions Finder and eBuy Open.
Manage your projects in the Project Center. It is the central point of your Acquisition desktop, where you will be able to organize the Gateway resources—solution data, expert articles, and community activity—you are using for a specific acquisition.
The Solutions Finder is the place to compare acquisition solutions available across government. At last count there were 196 solutions in the Finder. Zero in on government-wide contracts or purchase channels that meet your needs using powerful, easy-to-use filters. Available solution types include:
- Blanket Purchase Agreements
- Enterprise License Agreements
- Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiatives
- Government-wide Acquisition Contracts
- Interagency Agreements
- Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity
- Multi-Agency Contracts
- Multiple Award Schedules
- Mandatory Sources
- Common-use Supply Requisitions
Another new tool, eBuy Open, leverages best practices and lessons-learned from across the federal acquisition community. The transparency of eBuy Open allows for quick and easy searches of open, closed, and canceled eBuy Requests for Quotes (RFQs) from FY 2014 forward, and lets you see which agencies requested specific products and services from GSA Schedules. Digging deeper unearths invaluable information, including examples that demonstrate how to get the best quotes from industry and what has worked well in the past to purchase products and services. eBuy Open is already drawing rave reviews from acquisition leadership across government, who’ve used for both market research and to search for examples. They tell us eBuy Open shows that GSA is responding to feedback about our e-tools from daily users of the Schedules.
The Contractor Awarded Labor Category (CALC) tool is a powerful way of assessing awarded GSA Schedule rates for the professional services market by labor category.
Discovery is another professional services market research tool to help find vendors. It’s also the place to turn when looking for help in meeting socioeconomic requirements through OASIS, our One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services.
We have also given a facelift to the Prices Paid Portal, aka P3, “replatforming” it for enhanced data visualization via bar graphs, pie charts, or line charts. Tabular prices-paid data can also be exported and includes the current GSA data sets from purchasing channels such as OS2, GSA Advantage!, FSS-19, and NITCP, as well as information from Army CHESS.
The Gateway is also home to government-wide digital services including the TechFAR hub, a community of practice open to all federal employees with an interest in successful acquisitions. Home to both the Digital Services Playbook and the TechFar Handbook, the TechFAR Hub and the Gateway share the common goals of saving taxpayer dollars, making acquisition more efficient, and improving service to customers inside government and out.
Hallways also house category tools providing decision support for every phase of the acquisition lifecycle. For example, in the Professional Services hallway you will see sample documents to help develop the Statement of Work (SOW), Performance Work Statement (PWS), and Statement of Objectives(SOO) used in a professional services procurement. These examples are ones our customers and industry partners judged as the best on the Gateway because they:
- Required little or no clarification
- They were likely to quote on
- Were unambiguous
- Received a good number of quotes from contractors
The Gateway is a “two-way street,” so please take a minute to vote for the examples you’ve found to be the most (or least) helpful and share samples of your own best practice work products, too.
So what’s next?
We launched the Acquisition Gateway to help the workforce save taxpayers money while delivering on their agency missions. We are creating decision-support tools and providing resources for every stage of the acquisition process — planning, market research, and requesting proposals and quotes. We are confident in our success for one reason. Our Agile process is relying on all of you to help us. But to help build the Gateway, you have to be on the Gateway. Join now and become part of the future of the Acquisition Gateway!