State Department issues RFI for procurement forecasting app

The United States Department of State is pictured in Washington, DC on August 6, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

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The State Department wants industry to weigh in on what it would take to develop a procurement forecasting application that would provide vendors with status updates on potential future requirements and acquisition activities.

Existing apps, infrastructure and interface issues, recommended process and solicitation improvements, the time to develop a minimum viable product (MVP), a rough cost breakdown, and return on investment are all asked about in the department’s request for information (RFI) and sources sought issued Tuesday.

The State Department Office of the Procurement Executive’s fiscal 2022 to 2026 strategic plan emphasized a holistic acquisition experience for contracting officers (COs), customers and industry, and a web-based app is seen as the best way to provide visibility into procurements and increase competition among vendors.

“This department-wide forecast of contract opportunities expands upon individual efforts already implemented at [State] aimed at enhancing competition in contracting,” reads the statement of objectives. “In addition to providing more information to industry, the solution should bring increased capabilities to both [State] and industry in interactions, notifications, aligning to opportunities, and for communicating innovative ideas to [State].”

Were a vendor to win a contract award, it would be responsible for designing, developing, implementing and maintaining the app.

The app must be publicly accessible, ingest data from external sources, publish and refresh information daily, rapidly deploy and scale, come with training, be cybersecurity compliant, and include data quality controls.

State further expressed interest in enabling vendors to create profiles, match with opportunities, contact COs and set alerts. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots or that gather metrics will be considered.

Interested vendors have until 12 p.m. on July 8, 2022, to respond to the RFI, and State may hold listening sessions in the future.

Phase 1 of the project is developing the MVP, with a $350,000 ceiling, after which the chosen contractor would lay out subsequent phases — including their duration and estimated cost.

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Acquisition, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, State Department
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