Federal Manager's Daily Report

The GSA has taken the next step toward the use of e-commerce portals in agency procurements, by issuing a solicitation requesting proposals from e-marketplace portal providers for the initial proof of concept of its Commercial Platforms program.

“The proof of concept is GSA’s starting point for changing the way federal agencies buy commercial products via the open market,” under provisions of a 2018 law, GSA said. “The proof of concept is being implemented through partnerships with multiple commercial e-marketplace platform providers who offer business-to-business capabilities and will give federal agencies better visibility and insights into their online spend.”

GSA said that agencies already spend $260 million a year through online portals “and it is critical that we use the Commercial Platforms program to better understand and manage this spend.”

The solicitation is open for 30 days with implementation of the proof of concept expected to occur in early 2020.

GSA along with the OMB had completed the first phase, reviewing best practices and consulting with industry stakeholders and federal agencies, last year. The second phase, a May report to Congress recommended beginning operational implementation of the program with an initial proof of concept to start small and refine as lessons are learned; limit purchases initially to the micro-purchase threshold—which they recommended increasing from $10,000 to $25,000 for that purpose—and to continue to assess other potential e-commerce portal models.