In a blog post last week, the General Services Administration (GSA) provided an update on the kind of feedback that it received from the industry for its proposed e-commerce portal. Laura Stanton, deputy assistant commissioner at the Federal Acquisition Service compiled comments received in GSA’s December request for information from e-commerce portal providers and suppliers.

“It was great to receive a significant level of feedback from various stakeholders, both in response to the draft program documents, with over 200 pages of comments submitted, and the active engagement we saw at the (December) Industry Day event,” Stanton wrote.

Key topics that emerged from the feedback, according to Stanton, were:

  • Keep it simple. GSA should not be asking for more than what is currently required under the micro-purchase threshold (MPT) of $10,000.
  • Data protection ambiguity. Both portal providers and suppliers expressed concern and diverging views around the data protection language contained in Section 838 of the FY19 NDAA.
  • Pricing will need to be competitive and an improvement over existing purchasing channels, and refunds to GSA do not reflect commercial practice.
  • GSA should not limit the proof of concept to just the e-marketplace model and should ensure competition across the various models, with both portal providers and suppliers.
  • Category concerns. Health and IT products have unique supply chain requirements, and warrant special consideration.

GSA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initially detailed a proposal to roll out an e-commerce portal by 2020, with testing on the portal to be completed by the end of FY 2019. The e-commerce platform originated from the Defense Acquisition Streamlining and Transparency Act and has evolved to creating a single governmentwide portal for all Federal agencies to procure goods and services.

Phase II of the platform will be reported to Congress in less than 90 days.

“These comments and recommendations help to inform our efforts, as GSA and OMB towards submittal of the Phase II report to Congress in March 2019,” Stanton wrote.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.