In the past, GSA has managed 10 different federal acquisition sites. On November 8, 2019 they will release a new service, bea.SAM.gov (SAM). The new site, created by GSA’s IEA (Integrated Award Environment), will combine services from all 10 different acquisition sites including FBO, thereby retiring FBO from use. FBO, or Federal Business Opportunities, is a site used to provide information and updates about federal government awards. Although GSA hasn’t publicly stated that there have been any problems with the site, users have reported having difficulties navigating FBO.
SAM and FBO will have a lot of services in common, however SAM’s services are expected to be more refined. For example, Sam.gov will include a watchlist, a search agent and archival features, however the names of such features will be changed. What is referred to as a watchlist on FBO, will be referred to as a “follow” on SAM, so instead of contracting opportunities being put on a watchlist they will be followed. Search agents will be referred to as “saved search” and archived will be referred to as “inactive”. There will also be changes in the names of some federal roles. GSA has promised their new system will be more user friendly with features such as easy to use search filters, involving numbers, keywords and locations, to aid in finding opportunities. The new site will also have easy to use shortcuts such as the ability to save searches. The site has been created with hopes of facilitating the process of acquiring information about awards.
It is not completely known why GSA has decided to eliminate FBO, however speculators attribute the decision to bad user reviews. The federal news network has even described the site as, “hard to navigate, slow and complicated”, which is apparently known to all buyers and sellers that use the site. The new site will make life easier for government agencies and government contracting companies alike.
Author: Alison Cottingham