When you hear the words “easy” and “assist,” federal purchasing and technology do not immediately come to mind, but we are working hard to change that perception. As Thomas Sharpe, the Commissioner of FAS stated in the GSA blog recently, we must help federal buyers by streamlining and simplifying the federal acquisition process. I wanted to discuss how we plan to use technology to deliver on those goals with our two newest systems: the Enterprise Acquisition Solution integrated (EASi) and the Assisted Services Information SysTem (ASSIST) program.
EASi will make the federal IT acquisition easier. Customers can choose from standardized solicitation and award packages, and get assistance with funding certification. EASi will interface with the mandatory Integrated Award Environment’s (IAE) System for Award Management (SAM). The new application leverages the larger GSA IT application environment including the Regulation Management Service – a new feature of the Solicitation Writing System (SWS) and the Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS). Internally these services are supported through the consolidated eSOA (Service Oriented Architecture) platform. Many in GSA collaborated to produce EASi: GSA IT, the Federal Acquisition Service, and the PBS Office of Acquisition Management.
Our other new system, ASSIST, sprung from the partnership of GSA IT and the Federal Acquisition Service’s (FAS) Assisted Acquisition Service (AAS). We are midway through it’s development and implementation. ASSIST supports FAS customers, contracting professionals, and contractors by providing standardized task and delivery-order management. ASSIST integrates contracting with funds management and provides better data for business decision-making. ASSIST’s registration consolidation project established a new central mechanism for GSA, vendor and client registration. We also eliminated legacy hardware, software and license costs while reducing the operational burdens associated with user account maintenance. ASSIST provided gradual transition from multiple legacy systems to a set of consumable web services and the methodology focuses on acquisition excellence and streamlined operations while ensuring compliance activities. Future ASSIST projects will provide a consistent user experience via web-based services that will be extended to other environments including our Common Acquisition Platform (CAP).
EASi and ASSIST are just two systems out of many that GSA IT is developing and deploying to provide easier purchasing and procurement to the federal government – and savings to taxpayers. In Part Two of my guest blog spot I’ll cover other GSA IT initiatives and how they help us, our customers and the federal government work more efficiently and productively through all phases of the acquisition process.