GSA expects delay awarding commercial e-marketplace pilots
The General Services Administration anticipates a delay in awarding commercial e-marketplace pilots, citing a shift of resources to support the government’s coronavirus response.
GSA is currently prioritizing “certain activities to support the immediate needs of the federal government,” Laura Stanton, deputy assistant commissioner for category management in the Information Technology Category, wrote in the GSA Commercial Platforms Initiative group.
Stanton not only leads GSA’s Commercial Platforms Initiative but is helping provide agencies with hardware and services for telework during the pandemic.
“We will continue to move forward as we are able, recognizing that many of our acquisition professionals are prioritizing COVID-19 response work over other acquisition initiatives,” Stanton continued. “Our goal is to make the contract award in the coming months.”
During a congressional hearing in early March, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Information Technology Bill Zielinski said GSA was working through three agency-level protests that would delay the award until the end of the month or shortly thereafter. That was before the U.S. surpassed all other countries in COVID-19 cases.
Section 846 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2018 directed GSA to explore the use of multiple e-commerce platforms for modernizing the purchase process for routine commercial items. More than a dozen agencies expressed interest in participating in e-commerce pilots, Zielinski said.
Currently, agency deployment of e-commerce portals is disaggregated, and sellers have expressed concern over counterfeit product sales, supply chain management and marketplace owners’ use of pricing data. GSA’s pilots will address these concerns, Zielinski said.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who is leaving Congress to become President Trump’s chief of staff, asked GSA to notify the House government operations subcommittee if its handling of the protests ran longer than 30 days. But Congress has its hands full with the coronavirus, too.
GSA will continue to provide updates on the Commercial Platforms Initiative on the group webpage.