The General Services Administration surpassed 10,000 users Wednesday on its online Acquisition Gateway — achieving a goal officials had set for the year’s end.
The gateway — an online repository and portal for federal personnel to explore existing acquisition information and solutions, collaborate on best practices, and make more effective and efficient buying decisions in a centralized manner — had about 5,000 users in January when GSA publicly launched the website and announced its goal. Those initial users registered on the site during its 15-month soft launch period, which began in October 2014.
“The road to 10,000 started just three short years ago when we surveyed federal procurement professionals to discover how we might improve their acquisition efforts,” Tom Sharpe, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, wrote in a blog post. “What we found was that the need to for a single destination that had all the tools and resources required for a successful acquisition within a product or service category, like IT or professional services.”
Rooted in the acquisition philosophy of category management, the gateway is divided into major hallways, or groups of related products and services. The initial 2014 launch started with just three hallways — IT hardware, IT software and administrative services — but the site has since grown to 19 such groupings across 10 common federalwide categories.
Sharpe added: “the Acquisition Gateway has matured into a tool that assists acquisition professionals by giving them what they need to buy smarter and faster. Today, we are focused on superior navigation and procurement decision-support data and tools while governmentwide category teams curate unbiased, expert content for each of the hallways.”
Going forward, the team behind the gateway will use agile, iterative development to continue rolling out site updates the 10,000-strong users request, delivering new features in two-to-three week sprints, the FAS commissioner said. GSA plans to expand the statement of work library to a full acquisition document library, revamp the landing page, improve tagging for better searchability and “beef up the Project Center – our ‘killer’ app – with improved project tracking and the ability to share projects with other users” this fall, Sharpe wrote.
With 10,000 users now using the gateway, the tool can begin to show more of its true potential.
“The more acquisition pros that join the Acquisition Gateway, the more powerful this collaboration tool – and the buying enterprise – become,” Sharpe said.