GSA Modernization Efforts
The motif of modernization has been a pervasive goal of the federal government in the past decade. The onset of the internet allowed for easier access to contract opportunities and better business. Part of this modernization includes updating contract writing systems and acquisition portals. In the past few years the Navy and Army have both taken massive steps (and expensive contracts) to help modernize their ability to find contractors ready and willing to fulfill their requirements. It was only a matter of time before GSA had its turn to do the same.
This has been a goal of this particular agency since 2016, and in the interim since, these new steps and requirements have been part of a more all-encompassing modernization strategy that they are taking. The new contract writing system is still being worked out, but Crystal Philcox, the assistant commissioner for Enterprise Strategy Management at FAS said that once they can figure out the scope of the new system, they can then work out many of the details. GSA is also looking towards examples of a successful roll out from the Army, as a model of what kind of system they are looking to create.
Another component of this new modernization strategy is the updating of GSA Advantage. FAS is developing a new catalog system so that agency customers can see what contracts are available, and what kind of requirements they are looking for. The main goal is also to be able to look at similar products and be able to compare them with the data compiled. Streamlining this process helps to make sure that only the most suitable product is considered, and that the process of choosing can be faster and more efficient.
Finally, updates to current GSA acquisition infrastructure is in order to further modernize the agency in the business of contracting. Making E-buy more secure and user friendly is at the centerpiece of this mission. Managing these changes is the FAS systems governance committee, which is reviewing all investments that GSA is considering. In doing this, they are looking at each contract awardee and working with them more personally in order to ensure that people are communicating and that the Agency is getting the most value per dollar spent.