WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Beta.Sam.Gov continues to disappoint

I have started to get some results out of Beta.Sam.gov as I look for information on new contract opportunities.

But getting some results is a far cry from saying the new website is fixed.

My use doesn’t go as deep as industry users but it is still hard and slow to use. Too many steps to click through and options that don't make sense.

I’ve created some saved searches but I just feel like much is missing. It’s not an easy interface to pop in a few search parameters and then scroll through the results. That’s what I did with FBO.gov. In fact, I was never registered at FBO.

But registration is practically a requirement to make any sense with Beta.Sam.Gov and logging in is a pain. Why can’t it remember my browser? The two-factor authentication is a hassle and just slows things down.

We are still getting complaints from users that are expressing frustration with both the lack of expected features and near-silence from the General Services Administration

Two popular features from FBO.gov were the push notifications and email alerts. You could set up parameters for a search and then get an email with all the items that met that search criteria.

GSA claims they are working on those features. But you get no response when asking for an update as I have done.

Other users have complained about the lack of tracking identifiers and the irritation of contracting documents being dumped in one long list, especially with requests for proposals.

“RFP release documents are listed along with amendments and other modifications. Unfortunately, the list is not in chronological order,” one person wrote. “If an RFP has multiple documents and multiple amendments, a contractor can be looking a dozen plus individual documents in no special order.”

This person called it a “mosh pit of individual files.” This is just one of many complaints that person submitted.

Many of the complaints we get are from small businesses who are expressing fears and concerns that Beta.Sam.Gov is hurting their business because they have been cut off from once-reliable source of market intelligence.

The consequences of Beta.Sam.Gov are more than just inconveniences. People see their livelihoods as being affected.

One person said that the problems with Beta.Sam.Gov are a fireable offense for the person who oversees its development.

“There had to be zero feedback and input from industry during the development and obviously no testing was done to ensure key elements of FBO.gov were incorporated,” this person wrote.

GSA says it rigorously tests Beta.Sam.Gov. But another person speculated in a comment to us that GSA’s testing probably only focused on compliance issues and that non-representative users were brought in for testing.

We may never know because GSA isn’t responding to requests for comment on who is working on Beta.Sam.Gov

I’ve also asked for priorities next steps and any kind of time-frame when new features will be added. Nothing but silence.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 17, 2019 at 9:13 AM


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