GSA Needs Users to Test Upcoming Improvements to SAM.gov

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

The Integrated Award Environment has plans for specific improvements to roll out in the next year and a half.

The General Services Administration is planning to launch usability upgrades for SAM.gov over the next 18 months and is looking for real-world users to test some of the functionality.

Most of the big-name programs destined to be part of GSA’s Integrated Award Environment one-stop procurement website—SAM.gov—have been migrated to the site. While there are more programs to be integrated, GSA officials are taking a look at the current functionality of the site and seeking users to test upcoming improvements before they go live.

With the capabilities from the legacy SAM.gov merged into the new SAM.gov—and the latter losing the “beta” prefix—GSA is planning usability improvements to the site and wants superusers to test those ahead of launch.

GSA is working on a number of new features, according to a post on the Interact outreach site, though the post did not offer specifics on what those will entail. However, the post notes testers will have the opportunity to try out “a specific feature being improved” and provide feedback to help the agency tune those improvements.

“Your test results and comments will go directly to the teams that develop and design the SAM.gov feature you tested,” officials said. The tests take around 30 minutes, according to the post, and “are conducted via a casual web call.”

The announcement and registration page do not include timelines for the usability testing, but new features being tested now will roll out over the next year to 18 months, the posts state.

Officials are looking for a broad range of users.

“We need many perspectives to be sure we have heard from the diverse types of people and organizations who use SAM.gov for their work,” the registration page states.

After the problematic relaunch of Federal Business Opportunities—better known as FedBizOpps, or FBO—as the Contract Opportunities tab on the new site, GSA officials put an extra emphasis on user engagement for future deployments.

“A lot of the power users, their careers are built on the fact that they are power users of tools, and we’re moving their cheese a little bit,” Judith Zawatsky, assistant commissioner for the office of systems management in the Federal Acquisition Service, told Nextgov in an interview last year. “We’re giving them stronger tools, better tools … But, I’m not going to claim that the way you use those tools is the same.”

The best way to ensure users are happy and build the best product possible is to continue to iterate, Zawatsky said, and bring the users along with you.

“What you get on Day 1 is not what you’re going to get on Day 30 or Day 45 or Day 60, so join us on this journey,” she said.

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