GSA puts its procurement database to the test

With Congress mulling legislation that would establish a Web site to track all federal spending, a key General Services Administration official wants to get ahead of the curve.

Emily Murphy, GSA's chief acquisition officer, urged federal and industry customers to try out the agency's existing procurement database and determine whether improvements are necessary.

"Go and look at it and see if it is meeting your needs," Murphy said at a speech in Washington today.

GSA currently uses the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation to manage agency spending on goods and services. The system was upgraded in 2004 and now interfaces with most agency procurement systems.

Murphy said that in the past, FPDS "has been hard to use," although several new tools have been added over the past year to address concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office last year.

Meanwhile, Murphy repeated a mantra advocated by new GSA administrator Lurita Doan?that the agency should be the only place for government procurement.

She said GSA is working to improve its governmentwide acquisition contracts so agencies will not feel the need to launch their own massive procurement vehicles for many of the same services.

In particular, GSA is going to expand the use of its electronic purchasing tools, including eBuy and eOffer, "to make it easier to do business with us," she added.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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