Users Had to Wait a Little Longer for GSA’s FedBizOpps Replacement
FedBizOpps migrated to SAM.gov Contract Opportunities over the weekend but a slow site and data migration issues made for some disgruntled users.
The new website for posting federal market research and solicitation opportunities is now live on beta.SAM.gov … if you can get the page to load.
The government’s longtime go-to website for contracting opportunities, Federal Business Opportunities, also known as FedBizOpps or FBO, was shuttered over the holiday weekend as the General Services Administration shifted to the new Contract Opportunities page on SAM. However, users attempting to pull up the new page Tuesday morning were met with long load times, often resulting in the page timing out before loading.
GSA officials declined to comment Tuesday on the rollout and slow load times.
While patience was required Tuesday, users were able to sign in to the site using Login.gov and begin perusing.
Once signed in—a process that was also made difficult by slow load times Tuesday—users can search using keywords, solicitation numbers and agencies and program offices, as in the past on FBO. The site offers additional filters, such as narrowing the search within ranges for inactive status, published date, latest updates and response due dates. Users can also search by NAICS code, place of performance and DUNS number, as well as Unique ID, the DUNS replacement to be phased in by the end of fiscal 2020.
When searching for opportunities, the results page on SAM displays far more information than the front end of FBO, which displayed the name of the opportunity, solicitation number, agency and date posted.
The new site has additional information upfront, including the response date, last update and the type of notice—i.e., a new solicitation, market research or an update—viewable from the search results page. This information was available on FBO as well, along the right-hand rail when looking at the page for a given opportunity.
Looking at a single opportunity on SAM, the page includes all the same information as was posted to FBO, but spaced out and more linear in appearance. The opportunity pages also have new functionality, such as a navigation bar on the left that jumps to specific information like the description and attachments.
While the new site has a fresh look, it hasn’t gotten a warm reception among users, in and out of government.
Contracting analysts at The Pulse of GovCon told Nextgov Tuesday they have “a lot of strong feelings on SAM.” They offered a list of grievances, including low trust in the data being transferred from FBO to SAM through the API; two-factor authentication, which they said makes it harder for organizations to share accounts; a “disjointed” transition that left behind agencies like FAA; and the full-page view, which they said “adds a level of visual complexity vs a simplified list of opportunities.”
A federal employee who spoke with Nextgov on background said they hoped the search function on the new site would be an improvement over FBO, though they added the old site set the bar “rather low.”
GSA posted plans to take the site offline between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 3 a.m. Wednesday for maintenance, according to a notice posted Tuesday afternoon.
The FBO transition is an early milestone in a large-scale effort to shift 10 of GSA’s procurement websites to a single site under SAM.gov. FBO is the third site to make the move—after the grants site Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, or CFDA, and Wage Determinations Online, or WDOL—with the remaining functionality from the legacy SAM site on deck next.