Important Changes Coming To Government Contracting

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GSA Implementing Changes AFfecting ALL Government Contractors

Friday September 13, 2019 Changes in Government Contracting That You Need to Know About.   Welcome to the wonderful world of “Federal Contracting Made Easy”, where we take the complex world of government contracting and break it into simple steps that anyone can master.  Today, we are celebrating our 95th episode and to mark the occasion we will be discussing some changes that GSA is implementing that will impact you!!!.  BUT before we get started let’s roll that into.

GSA is decommissioning TEN major websites that will impact everyone involved in government contracting. These changes will affect both businesses large and small. By combining these ten websites into one website GSA is hoping to streamline the number of websites that users have to have access too. In addition, this will reduce the number of logins and passwords for everyone involved in government contracting. These changes will affect both businesses large and small. By combining these ten websites into one website GSA is hoping to streamline the number of websites that users have to have access too. In addition, this will reduce the number of logins and passwords for everyone involved in government contracting.

The new website will become the official U.S. Government site for people who make, receive and manage federal awards according to GSA.  The new website is beta.sam.gov. So bookmark the new website now!!!

Which websites is GSA targeting? Well, that is what we will discuss next.

Websites Being Changed

The following sites will be migrating over: System for Award Management (SAM), Federal Assistance (CFDA), Wage Determinations (WDOL), Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), Federal Business Opportunities (FBO), Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS) , Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), PPRS, and Federal Funding and Transparency Act (FFATA).

In short, GSA is migrating all websites that have anything to do with government contracting! Is implementing all sites at the same time a good ideal? Personally, I don’t think GSA thought this plan through very well. Don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to having one website. I just believe that changing all 10 sites at the sametime is not manageable from an IT standpoint.

What about my business registration? Will I be required to re-register my business in the new website? Next we will answer that question.

SAM.GOV Website

GSA has assured the public that they will migrate all historical contract data to the new website. This will include all entity registrations. This is great news for anyone registered in SAM. You will not have to re-register your business after SAM is officially retired. You may want to get familiar with the new website. Remember the new URL beta.sam.gov.

However, GSA did not state if these changes will impact any businesses that currently have government contracts. We will have to wait and see on this question.

Next let’s discuss the changes to Federal Business Opportunities website.

FedBizOpps.Gov Website

Yes, FBO is set to be decommissioned with its critical functionality being transferred to the beta.sam.gov website in the government’s first quarter (Oct – Dec).

The new site will have the same functionality but with some enhancements. GSA has stated the a user can now search by keyword, number or location. In addition, they have revamped the headings to allow users to find key information quickly. Furthermore, users will have an option to access previous versions of notices with just one click. Also, a user will be notified when notices have been updated. The user has a choice to use this feature or not. One of the major changes for users is the new user workspace. This workspace has a user-friendly design with logical navigation and industry best practices embedded. Equally important for the user is one login, and access to a number of databases from one workspace.

While these changes sound wonderful, I am curious if they work as well as GSA is selling.

Next let’s talk about the organization of the website.

How Will The New Website Be Organized?

Many of the features and functionality that is currently in FBO.gov will move to beta.SAM.gov under new names.

FBO – beta.SAM.gov

Currently the FBO website uses watchlist, search agent and archive to track opportunities. In the new website, watchlist renamed follow. If you want to follow an opportunity all you need to do is select follow.

Next, Search Agent renamed Saved Search. You will now be able to manage your saved searches directly from your workspace.

Lastly, once an opportunity is no longer available the name changes to Inactive. However open notices in the new system are named Active.

Soon GSA will also be changing the way the Interested Vendor list works. Now let’s see what else GSA is changing.

Interested Vendor List Database

GSA stated that current Interested Vendor Lists otherwise known as IVLs will transfer to the new site. This is great news for everyone involved in the contracting community. For those that are new to government contracting, an interested vendor lists allows businesses to notify the government when they are interested in an opportunity. However, non-federal users will need an account tied to a business in order to use the Interested Vendors Listing. Also each Interested Vendor Listing specific to each notice. In addition, each Interested Vendor Listing can be searchable and sortable.

GSA is also changing the way the federal agencies are listed on the new website. They are standardizing them all. This may make it more difficult to find the agencies that you use. However, GSA is allowing the public to download the hierarchy for your use.

Implementing a New Federal Hierarchy

GSA will be combining multiple legacy hierarchies into a single hierarchy across the new website.  This hierarchy will determine government roles, search and report capabilities.

The good news for users is they have the option to download the hierarchy. I can’t wait to see where GSA places smaller agencies in this mix.

New Accounts & Migration

In order to transition roles from FBO.gov to beta.SAM.gov, you will need to create a new account in beta.SAM.gov.  As part of GSA’s ongoing efforts to enhance security and move to a single sign in for all IAE applications, GSA is implementing login.gov in beta.SAM.gov.

A few weeks before the transition you will need to create a new login.gov account or be ready to use your existing login.gov account.  If you have a government issued CAC/PIV card you can login using that.

I was not able to determine how small businesses would register in login.gov. GSA will have to let small businesses know the procedures in the next few months.

I did not list all the changes that would affect only the government personnel. For a full review of the changes please see the following website.

My Thoughts…

I have never known the federal government to implement changes of this magnitude and do it well. This is one of the biggest changes that I have seen the government take in my 35 years of experience.

Personally, I do not believe that they can pull this off without a significant impact on the contracting community both government employees and contractors. I would rather see the government process these changes one website at a time instead of 10 websites in one sitting. These are massive websites that the public and government employees use on a daily basis. I hope that GSA has put together a group of beta testers from the government and the public to test this system before it goes live. Maybe GSA will prove me wrong, however, based upon past experience I am not hopeful.

Let me know your thoughts on this undertaking by GSA.

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