GSA tests a more transparent approach to eBuy

The GSA building in Washington, D.C. (Tajha Chappellet-Lanier / FedScoop)

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The General Services Administration is looking to let a little sunlight in on the opaque eBuy contracting portal.

The agency announced on Wednesday that it will run a year-long “eBuy Open GSA First” pilot program aimed at studying the effects of competition in the eBuy marketplace. To do this, select contracting offices will upload post-award eBuy request for quote (RFQ) information on GSA procurements to the open FedBizOpps platform for public review.

“Providing more transparency into how the federal government buys products and services will help contractors and our agency customers make more informed decisions when considering GSA contracts,” GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a statement. “Making this data public will be especially helpful for small businesses who often aren’t able to dedicate resources to navigate the government contracting process.”

Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Alan Thomas echoed Murphy’s sentiments. Greater transparency on eBuy contracts has been sought for some time, he said. “Not only will publishing post-award RFQ information publicly give our industry partners greater insight, but it will also encourage more vendors to pursue opportunities with GSA.”

In order to assess the impacts of posting these post-award contracts publicly on FedBizOpps, GSA will gather data from a test group and a control group. The test group, chosen because they’re the most active on eBuy, includes contracting officers from the GSA Office of Internal Acquisition and the FAS Region 7 Southwest Supply and Acquisition Center for GSA funded procurements. Award notices published on FedBizOpps can be found by searching “eBuyPilot.”

The pilot program will run until Oct. 9, 2019.

Ultimately the initiative ties into GSA’s focus on efficiency, which Murphy spoke about at length at the 2018 ACT-IAC Imagine Nation ELC conference Tuesday.

“Increasing competition and improving transparency supports the priorities I have established while leading GSA and will ultimately enable GSA contracts to produce greater value for the American taxpayer,” she said.

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Alan Thomas, contracting, eBuy, Emily Murphy, FedBizOpps, General Services Administration (GSA)
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