GSA launches consolidated acquisition database


Despite soaring costs, agency says new site ultimately will save money.

The General Services Administration has launched an online database that will eventually consolidate nine different procurement lists into one, publicly searchable location.

The database, the System for Award Management, went live Monday and included the Central Contractor Registration -- the government’s primary supplier database -- the Online Representations and Certifications Application -- a database of contractors’ services and qualifications -- and the Excluded Parties List System -- a database of individuals and businesses suspended and debarred from receiving federal contracts -- in Phase 1 of the launch.

The new system is designed to streamline data resources, resulting in greater efficiency and cost savings, according to GSA. It will give the public a one-stop shop to search for information about government contractors and grantees, containing information on more than 600,000 entities that do business with the government, according to a GSA spokesman.

The Government Accountability Office found that the cost of the project has nearly doubled from the original GSA estimate. The procurement agency predicted in 2008, when it began the integration process, the consolidation would cost $96 million, but as of March, the bill already had reached $181 million, auditors said.

“GSA agreed with the GAO’s findings in March and is implementing their recommendations,” a GSA spokesman told NextGov. “Since then, GSA has been reevaluating management of the project and its contracts to save costs. The GAO’s report took into account the projected costs over the full life cycle of the contracts.”

GSA began storing governmentwide acquisition information in databases in 2001 as a part of its “adopt, adapt, acquire” initiative. The agency had anticipated launching the site two years ago, but spiraling costs forced it to push back its timetable. Phase 2 of the four-phase project is not scheduled for completion until May 2014.