FAS Commercial Platforms Initiative

Posted by Laura Stanton
on March 10, 2022

I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the Commercial Platforms marketplace initiative since its inception. To make it easier for federal agencies make routine commercial product purchases, we partnered with multiple online platforms to modernize the buying experience. Through these partnerships we have made significant progress, and I’m excited to share more details on where the program is headed.

Program update

The Commercial Platforms program launched in August 2020 with four initial agencies and approximately 350 cardholders who could log in and purchase from any of our three participating platforms. I’m happy to report that agency interest is very strong, and the program has grown to over 20 participating agencies and over 40,000 total eligible cardholders.

The Commercial Platforms team actively works with the platforms to identify ways to support administration priorities in the areas of:

  • Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM), 
  • Green Products, 
  • Small Business, 
  • Made in America, and 
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility.

There is a continued emphasis on customer experience and direct feedback from buyers and program managers to better understand how the program can improve. Check out the new Commercial Platforms infographic for more FY21 highlights. 

Leadership changes

I’m pleased to share that GSA’s Northeast and Caribbean Regional Commissioner Jeff Lau is the new Executive Sponsor of the Commercial Platforms program. I will continue to provide guidance and support in a consultative role, but Jeff will manage the team and help shape the future of the program. 

Jeff recently shared that he sees “a great deal of potential and opportunity within this program to modernize and streamline routine commercial buying. I am excited about growing the program and broadening the number of platforms participating in future contracts. This will be a significant focus area as part of my leadership.”

Future contracts

Work is now underway on the next acquisition for the Commercial Platforms program, with existing contracts in place until June 2023. The team released a Request for Information (RFI) that asks for feedback from industry stakeholders on requirements and capabilities to support future program contracts.

As the market and our understanding of the e-commerce landscape evolves, buyer feedback will continue to play a significant role. The buyer’s experience is emerging as the top priority area, and we will keep learning from industry’s insights, feedback, and commercial practices.

To access the RFI, please visit and subscribe to the GSA Interact Commercial Platforms group. Visit www.gsa.gov/commercialplatforms for the latest on the Commercial Platforms program.

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Saying Goodbye to a Career of Federal Service

Posted by Kay Ely
on October 1, 2018

I recently announced I’m winding down my career with the federal government.  Retirement is a great time for reflection as I approach the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

After 32 years of service in the government and private sectors, I have been fortunate to work beside people whose passion is to serve in the best interests of our customers. I leave my position as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) filled with pride from what we have accomplished and confidence in the excellent ITC staff.

But none of ITC’s projects and programs would be successful without the partnership, support, perspective, and engagement of our federal agency and industry partners.

I have talked often about ITC’s many successes to illustrate that the work ITC does has significant, real-world impacts — we manage more than 5,000 contracts, representing nearly $25 billion in mission-critical IT spending annually.

Our goal is to meet all agencies’ IT needs by giving them access to the best commercial products and services available, from laptop configurations to massive IT network overhauls and everything in between.

We’re always focused on how the market is changing, and which emerging technologies are becoming critical in the modern IT landscape.

This year, ITC launched initiatives aimed at modernizing and simplifying current solutions, eliminating duplicative processes, and deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed ledger technology (DLT), to enhance efficiencies and drive savings into the acquisition process for GSA and government.

During my tenure as Director of IT Schedule 70, we focused on cross-government and cross-industry collaboration, realigning ITC to better support industry partners and help customer agencies meet their mission objectives.

One such example is the FASt Lane program, which focused on getting new technologies into the hands of customers faster. It has two parts: a quick 48 hour e-Modification (eMod) process for current Schedule 70 contract holders wishing to add or update their current IT product offerings, and a program helps get new vendors on schedule in approximately 45 days, down from the average time of 110 days.

We also implemented an initiative to renegotiate Schedule 70 base prices for many of the largest contracts. As a result, the government is achieving discounts of up to 46 percent off original pricing.

The solutions that we have put in place are truly critical to enabling the government to do its ultimate job — serving the American taxpayers.

I look forward to following GSA’s and ITC’s future endeavors and celebrating their successes from a new vantage point.
Many thanks to this entire community for your tremendous partnership over the years.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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Success through Collaboration

Posted by Ed O’Hare
on May 12, 2010

As you may know, May 23rd marks the opening of the Management of Change (MOC) conference. For 30 years, the MOC has served as a catalyst for collaboration across the government IT community. I am proud to be a conference vice chair on this year’s planning committee.

Even before wikis, blogs and tweets, the MOC conference was a focal point for IT professionals from all levels of government and industry to connect, share information, and work together to drive innovation. Not too long ago we were debating the merits of allowing government employees to access the Internet. Today Internet access is commonplace across government – that’s change at lightning speed. We’ve all had to adapt, and I’m proud of the role GSA has played in the provision of this service.

With the emergence of new knowledge-sharing and social media tools, we have all changed the manner in which we communicate, as well as the frequency. The MOC conference goal, however, remains unchanged: to assemble a group of experts to address the government’s most pressing IT challenges and share best practices, which lead to success through collaboration.

This year’s panel topics align with some of the most critical issues we as IT professionals face – increasing the quality and focus of our engagement efforts, achieving operational excellence, and addressing critical issues such as cybersecurity. Perhaps getting a group of people in a room to talk is considered low-tech. But I, for one, am looking forward to hearing what our industry partners and customers have to say and how my organization ITS can tap into this collective intelligence to develop forward-looking solutions.

To quote the late, great technologist Yogi Berra, “the future ain’t what it used to be.” Change happens – technologies change, workforces change, policies change, and our challenges change. We’ve got to learn how to manage change, get ahead of it and anticipate it. We can only do that with an open exchange of ideas.

If you haven’t signed up yet, you can find out more information here. I will look forward to seeing you there.

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