Electronic Commerce

July 1996

COMMUNICATIONS GUIDE

Electronic Commerce

FACNET Falters as Buyers Turn to the Internet for Procurements

Three years ago, President Clinton issued an executive order mandating that all federal agencies conduct procurements electronically by January 1997. The subsequent Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act called for the creation of a governmentwide Federal Acquisition Network (FACNET) to help agencies reach that goal. But recent technological and legislative developments have dashed hopes that agencies will become FACNET-compliant before the year-end deadline.

FACNET traffic has been well below the Administration's expectations for several reasons. Electronic data interchange (EDI)-the underlying FACNET technology-has proven difficult and expensive to implement. Special software has to be used to convert procurement transactions to the ANSI X12 EDI standard so that agencies can interact with vendors. Agencies have voiced concerns about the reliability of that software and the security of EDI transactions.

Only about 100 vendors have registered as FACNET electronic trading partners. Companies, particularly small businesses, claim they have encountered costly problems in building appropriate network infrastructures for routing transactions. The General Accounting Office has criticized FACNET's architecture as "ill-defined."

Advances in Internet technology, meanwhile, have made the World Wide Web a more popular vehicle for federal procurement activities. Government buyers, who have been given greater spending authority by recent procurement-reform legislation, are doing on-line shopping via a variety of Web sites such as the Federal Supply Service's GSA Advantage and the Defense Information Systems Agency's Electronic Shopping System.

Although several federal organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA have had considerable success with electronic commerce, their bid and evaluation procedures were routed through the Internet-not FACNET. Other agencies, such as the Energy Department, are using proprietary electronic-commerce systems that provide gateways to FACNET.

The changing dynamics of electronic commerce has caused the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to re-think its position on FACNET. For now, the office is encouraging the use of electronic bulletin-board systems and on-line catalogs from which buyers can purchase items using the government's IMPAC credit card.

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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