Catalog management leads GSA’s planned federal marketplace updates for 2021
The General Services Administration is set to acquire a web interface for managing and improving the quality of data collected for GSA Advantage! customers in the spring.
The pre-solicitation for the Common Catalog Platform (CCP) will seek information from the 12 contractors on the current Chief Information Officer Modernization and Enterprise Transformation (COMET) blanket purchase agreement, followed by a request for quote.
CCP is part of the Federal Acquisition Service‘s effort to improve catalog management so customers can more easily search, compare and buy needed offerings on GSA‘s online purchasing service, called GSA Advantage!, and elsewhere.
“We’re continuing to streamline and improve how we manage data associated with the more than 50 million products and services offered through the federal marketplace,” wrote Sonny Hashmi, commissioner of FAS, in a blog post Monday.
CCP will also reduce the time it takes suppliers to manage their catalogs by replacing the Schedules Input Program for Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) contract holders. And FAS workers will have an easier time reviewing and approving catalogs.
Catalog management is one of the four pillars of FAS’s Federal Marketplace (FMP) Strategy, a framework for making continuous improvements to GSA’s buying and selling experience. Numerous updates were announced in an FMP Strategy winter release.
Another catalog management improvement is faster catalog load times for suppliers via an Authoritative Catalog Repository, which also ingests data for new MAS produces for CCP.
And GSA continues to onboard manufacturers to the Verified Products Portal (VPP), containing specifications for commercial-off-the-shelf products. GSA will update the MAS solicitation in April to allow authorized resellers of VPP products to use that data without providing a letter of supply. The changes are intended to help customers avoid buying counterfeit or noncompliant products, standardize contractor catalogs, reduce the burden on resellers and FAS workers find and remove unauthorized products.
Also part of the FMP Strategy is the improvement of the Integrated Award Environment (IAE), at the heart of which is beta.SAM.gov. The website will eventually be a one-stop shop for all federal award information, and will lose the “beta” part of its moniker this spring when the original System for Award Management (SAM) is merged into the IAE.
“This is exciting for many reasons, not the least being suppliers and buyers will find it easier to get things done,” Hashmi wrote. “No longer will you have to log on to two sites to conduct business; everything will be housed on the new SAM.gov.”
That business includes registering to deal with government, find exclusion records, search for contract opportunities, find wage determinations — all under a single sign-on.
Expect changes to the look and feel of beta.SAM.gov shortly before the merger, Hashmi wrote.