New Acquisition Tool Allows Agencies to Comparison Shop


Contractors and interested members of the public may now use the online Acquisition Gateway to view a slice of agency procurement data, the General Services Administration announced.

The new tool advances the Obama Administration’s push, launched in December 2014, to remove procurement duplication across government through category management.

Agencies are encouraged to “act as one” and use the Acquisition Gateway to find side-by-side comparisons of different agency solutions for common procurement challenges such as cloud computing and logistics. The idea is to let agency purchasers connect with like-minded professionals and explore the 10 “hallways” of products and services.

The gateway offers category-related articles produced by federal employees, templates, market-research tools, and prices-paid data organized along the steps of the acquisition life cycle. Opening it to the public was done in the “spirit of data transparency,” GSA said.

“The White House was hugely supportive of this incredibly impressive effort,” Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said following a demonstration for industry employees and reporters last week. “This is truly meant to be a new tool for all of government, not just GSA, to spur growth and greater transparency and competition” while bringing together government and industry partners, she said. “We heard overwhelmingly from industry that they wanted to play a role.”

The goal is to have the tool used by 10,000 acquisition workforce employees by the end of this year, Rung said, stressing that the materials are “neutral,” meaning free of any agency program bias. Metrics for measuring success will include budget savings, smarter information technology efforts, reduced duplication and “meeting or exceeding” small business contracting goals, she said.

“The public will have access to as much of the Acquisition Gateway as possible and will experience the same user-centric design as federal users,” said Tom Sharpe, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “The gateway will enable that access while protecting the integrity of critical federal data and the security of private information supplied by contractors and others.”

Among the items the gateway offers are a general “solutions finder” tool, a library of past statements of work, news and events feeds, a “buy online” button and a button that allows users to contribute and share.

“Although the Acquisition Gateway’s primary stakeholder is the federal user, publicity about the tool garnered attention from citizens, the media, industry, government contractors, third-party consultants, and state and local governments,” said Laura Stanton, acting director of strategy management for GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “Operational transparency is one of the gateway’s underlying principles, and a public view has been part of the gateway plan since day one.”

The gateway’s entire contents were reviewed by GSA’s Freedom of Information Act Division and the Office of General Counsel to ensure their release would not harm national defense or foreign policy, individual privacy interests, business proprietary interests or governmental efficiency, GSA said. “The gateway content that was analyzed was held to the same releasability legal standards as a FOIA request.”

Similar reviews were performed by Senior Procurement Executives from each agency that provided content for the gateway. They determined what was appropriate for the public portion of the site. Among those items available only to agency employees using their access cards are contracts, community feeds, an electronic purchasing feature, and a portal showing prices paid.

Planners said they hope the site will expand so that within three to six months it will be “very different in appearance and capacity.”

(Image via JMiks/

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.