The team managing the transition from FedBizOpps to SAM.gov says it plans to restore key capabilities, such as email alerts.
The transition from the standalone Federal Business Opportunities—better known as FedBizOpps or FBO—was a rough one for users of the federal contracting website. But program managers at the General Services Administration say they’re working through the problems and plan to launch new capabilities in the near future.
FedBizOpps—the central website for posting federal contracting opportunities—was shuttered over Veterans Day weekend, replaced by the Contracting Opportunities tab on beta.SAM.gov. GSA had been planning the move for over a year as part of a widescale effort to consolidate 10 contracting resource websites onto a single platform.
But users logging on—or attempting to log on—to the site Nov. 12 were met with long load times, timeouts, missing information and difficulty remaining logged in through GSA’s Login.gov.
The transition team was well aware of these issues and spent the first 72 hours after Contracting Opportunities went live dealing with the latency issues. GSA officials declined several requests for comment on the specifics of these issues and remediation efforts with regard to SAM and Login.gov.
On Monday, GSA released a fact sheet detailing the new functionalities available on SAM, as well as the known issues the team continues to address.
“In the first two-plus weeks since transition, we received an average of 170 inquiries per day” specifically regarding the Contract Opportunities site, the sheet states. “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.”
GSA organized this feedback into seven general categories. From the document:
- 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 more ideas and future improvements."
- On-screen search: "[The Federal Acquisition Service] is reviewing input and recommendations to make using the on-screen search capability continually 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 for 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."
GSA encouraged users to continue sending feedback as the team works to improve the site. For technical problems, users can reach out through the Federal Service Desk. General comments, concerns and suggestions can be submitted through the feedback tool on beta.SAM.gov.