For a while now, GSA has been planning to update its central website for federal contracting opportunities, formerly FedBizOpps. This past Veterans Day (November 11), FedBizOpps was replaced by a Contracting Opportunities tab on beta.SAM.gov, part of a larger effort to consolidate 10 contracting resource websites onto one platform. Unfortunately, the move did not go quite as smoothly as hoped. Users experienced everything from long load times, timeouts, and missing information to difficulty login difficulties. (Nextgov, December 3, 2019)
GSA’s transition team was kept abreast of the issues and spent the three days after Contracting Opportunities went live working on them. Shortly after, GSA issued a fact sheet spelling out the new functionalities available on SAM, ongoing issues being addressed, and issues the team continues to work through. “In the first two-plus weeks since the transition, we received an average of 170 inquiries per day,” the sheet noted. “We currently are receiving roughly 200 comments per day from the feedback tool; however, some of those comments are duplicates from the same user(s) and the trend is slowing down.” (ibid)
GSA organized the feedback into seven categories:
- Email alerts for saved searches: “This is a known functionality that users would like and is currently being developed.”
- Additional search parameters: “In beta.SAM.gov there are many more filters than previously existed; these were based on input from agency partners and users who participated in focus groups and testing. We added the ability to search by solicitation number, but we are open to ore ideas and future improvements.”
- On-screen search: “[The Federal Acquisition Service] is reviewing input and recommendations to make using the onscreen search capability more intuitive.”
- Two-factor authentication: “FAS works with our partners in GSA IT to ensure that we are meeting or exceeding cybersecurity protocols. We realize that two-factor authentication adds an extra step prior to accessing the data, but it is necessary to our mission to not only transact and display but safeguard data.”
- Carry over followed opportunities: “As we shared in pre-launch training sessions and outreach, we realize that individual watchlist indicators did not carry over to the new environment. We have moved over all 5.6 million opportunities, and all opportunities carried over from the previous system. Opportunities can be followed again on beta.SAM.gov.”
- Carry over saved searches: “As we shared in pre-launch training sessions and outreach, we realize that individual saved search parameters and histories did not carry over to the new environment. We could not reliably do so fo the tens of millions of searches that existed. We were unable to migrate saved searches from FBO.gov due to differences in functionality. Users and organizations can create and save new and potentially more refined searches.”
- Old/dead links: “We continue to work with stakeholders across government to update links as appropriate. Where individuals have bookmarks on their own computers, they will need to create a new bookmark.” (ibid)
Improving the site is an ongoing effort by GSA, and they urge users to reach out through the Federal Service Desk. All other comments may be submitted on beta.SAM.gov.
Are you working through the beta.SAM.gov glitches? Need a little help navigating the site? Give us a call.