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3/29/2010
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GSA Pilots Procurement Wiki

The General Services Administration's BetterBuy project allows vendors to provide online feedback on the RFP process.



The General Services Administration (GSA) is testing a collaborative approach to procurement for two projects as a way to streamline the process for bidding vendors.

Through a pilot Web site called BetterBuy, the GSA is providing a wiki through which vendors may provide feedback on acquisitions and suggest ways to improve the process, according to blog post by Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for the Office of Assisted Acquisition Services in the GSA's Federal Acquisition Service. Davie leads the project.

One project is for improving Data.gov's data storage and hosting capabilities and the other is for an unspecified project called "Clearpath," on which the government seeks technical infrastructure. The GSA will launch Clearpath in a few weeks, according to the post.

"By engaging in dialogue with the acquisition community and the public, we can tap into our best source of innovation and fresh ideas," Martha N. Johnson, Administrator of General Services, said in a statement.

She said BetterBuy is in line with President Obama's call for the government to use technology to be more transparent and help people do business more easily with government agencies.

The government acquisition process is currently time-consuming and inefficient for vendors and does not allow for interaction. The GSA hopes to streamline the process through the pilot wiki program.

As the procurement process works now, the government posts a document online listing requirements for an acquisition, and individual vendors respond with questions about it, often the same ones.

This process of figuring out exactly what the government is looking for, as well as exactly what vendors are offering in their proposals, is not currently a very interactive one, and is costly for vendors preparing bids.

The GSA hopes that by using social-networking technologies, vendors will work better together to understand what the government's requirement are, lower their bid-preparation costs, and make the process generally more efficient. It also should help the government better understand what vendors are offering in their RFPs.

The GSA teamed up with the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council to create the BetterBuy project.

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