CONTRACT OPPORTUNITIES

COVID-19 forces GSA to delay e-commerce portal plans 

NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.

The General Services Administration's push to create an electronic purchasing portal for federal agencies has been shoved to the sidelines by the government's more urgent demands for IT hardware and service support for telework.

"Not surprisingly, GSA's resources have shifted to support the COVID-19 response, and we're having to prioritize certain activities to support the immediate needs of the federal government," said Laura Stanton, deputy assistant commissioner for Category Management, Information Technology Category, in an April 1 post on the agency's Interact site.

"As a result, the contracting team for the commercial platform's proof of concept has also had to shift their focus to COVID-19 response efforts," she said, delaying the pending award for the proof-of-concept. Stanton didn't specify when GSA would award the contract, but said that "our goal is to make the contract award in the coming months."

The agency had planned to award the proof-of-concept contract in early spring, but faced some protests from potential vendors. Overstock.com had filed a pre-award protest of the contract in January. It withdrew the complaint in late February, however.

"We will continue to move forward as we are able, recognizing that many of our acquisition professionals are prioritizing COVID-19 response work over other acquisition initiatives," Stanton said.

During a House Oversight and Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Government Operations hearing in early March on GSA issues, one of the agency's officials in charge of the platform initiative told lawmakers that there were three pending protests of the contract.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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