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8/5/2013
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GSA's eBuy Site Goes Mobile

GSA's mobile tool includes text message alerts and can help small businesses win government contracts for products and services.

5 Helpful Online Services From Uncle Sam
5 Helpful Online Services From Uncle Sam
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The General Services Administration (GSA) has released a mobile version of its eBuy website to help small businesses compete more effectively for government contracts. The move by GSA reflects a broader effort on the part of federal agencies to adopt the White House's Digital Government Strategy that aims to make information available to the public anytime, on any device.

Registered users will now have access to GSA's electronic Request for Quote (RFQ) and Request for Information (RFI) system in formats designed for mobile devices.

Vendors can launch the mobile eBuy URL in their phone or tablet browsers and view attachments connected to RFQs, or prepare and submit quotes. By registering their mobile numbers, vendors can also receive push notifications via text messages, alerting them of any changes to RFQ/RFI information associated with their contracts.

[ Could the government make better use of technology? Read Do We Need A U.S. Department Of Technology? ]

Such mobile tools provide an additional channel for information on government prospects, said Forrester principal analyst Jennifer Belissent. "The real-time, push nature of the alerts brings opportunity directly into the hands of anyone -- including small businesses who might not always have an eye on government websites or RFP publications," Belissent said.

"Now you can learn how to do business with the federal government right from your cell phone or tablet," a GSA rep wrote in a blog post, describing eBuy mobile. GSA's decision to launch a mobile version of the eBuy site was based on research with local small business owners conducted earlier last year, the rep said.

Federal, state, and local governments use eBuy to find businesses that offer services and products at competitive prices. Buyers can request information, find sources and prepare RFQs/RFPs for services and products offered through GSA's technology contracts. Businesses use it to sell products and services within the government. According to GSA, more than $8 billion of products and services were processed through eBuy in 2012.

A major goal of the Digital Government Strategy, introduced by the Obama administration last May, is optimizing federal websites for mobile devices.

Socialsecurity.gov, DOT.gov, and FAA.gov are among other government sites that have been revamped to work on mobile browsers. As part of the transition, each agency has mobile-enabled at least two customer-facing services in the past 12 months, according to the White House. This includes both downloadable mobile apps and mobile websites. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, has optimized 60 of its sites for smartphones and tablets as of July, including Medicare.gov and Healthfinder.gov.

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