The federal government is taking steps to bring contracting processes into a new era through the development of the Acquisition Gateway, a new website and portal developed by the General Services Administration (GSA).

The initial intent is to provide “A workspace for acquisition professionals and federal buyers to connect with resources, tools and each other to improve acquisition government-wide” as an introduction on the home page states. The website, at, follows the current style favored by those who use their phones as a primary Internet access tool, with large graphics and photos, and little written content readily available.

However, this belies the value to both government decision-makers and contractors.

What It’s Got

The welcome video is helpful and states that the Acquisition Gateway is the online hub for acquisition professionals and their daily activities. This is a crowd-sourcing site for (and by) contracting officers, contracts specialists, program managers, project managers and end-users, and it has two iterations: one for government employees and one for everyone else.

Within the website, currently 10 “hallways” are listed to organize category-specific information and tools. These tools include data, acquisition vehicles, market intelligence, prices paid information and analysis. Also included in a library are statements of work, a tool to locate appropriate government-wide acquisition vehicles, a project center to organize the acquisition and a community feature for live interaction with other professionals.

The current 10 (reduced from the original 17) “hallways” are facilities & construction, human capital, industrial products and services, information technology, medical, office management, professional services, security and protection, transportation and logistics, and travel.

However, what is there today will be different tomorrow, as the site is under constant change, adapting to the recommendations and feedback of the community using it. User involvement includes live discussions, contributions of statements of work, objectives, performance work statements and emailed feedback.

An Evolving Site

The constantly-changing nature of this website incorporates the agile development process, which is driven by user-centric design and a constant feedback loop — resulting in a growing resource or a maddeningly ever-changing website.

As a government decision-maker, any one of the professionals involved in the contracting process may use the solutions tool to identify specific contract vehicles for the needed product or service. They can find a library of documents as they create their own contract, as well as a live chatting function to ask and answer questions.

Another tool is the “prices paid” data set, which provides a historical tracking of labor rates and product pricing. These specific tools are available only to government users with appropriate credentials.

The Contract-Awarded Labor Category (CALC) Tool is now available to the government and to vendors. The intent is to help contracting professionals conduct market research and pricing analysis on professional service labor categories. The results shown are awarded hourly rates from GSA IDIQ service schedules; CALC is available at

From the contractor perspective, vendors see both benefits and challenges in this new tool. Hurdles are created because category management is a recent buzzword that roughly translates into fewer opportunities, but much larger contracts. The CALC Tool is a quick way to check competitive labor rates, a time-saver for contractors.

Another publicly available tool is the Forecast of Contract Opportunities. This forecast is searchable by keyword, place of performance, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, projected solicitation date, contract type and acquisition strategy. As of the late December 2017, there were 3,432 forecasted opportunities listed, which is just a fraction of what is ultimately available.

For instance, a recent test for forecasted opportunities including the keyword “cyber” yielded 14 results with the places of performance located from Maryland to California, with estimated contract values ranging from $1 to more than $327 million.

Another Tool

Success of this forecast listing will depend largely on the adoption of the tool by agencies and their willingness to post them on this GSA-built website. As a point of clarification, the site is not limited to GSA-only vehicles, but allows many types of government-wide and individual contract vehicles.

One of the Acquisition Gateway tools not yet public is the Vendor Finder Tool. The purpose of this tool is to help acquisition professionals with market research and analysis in identifying possible vendors for specific needs. The raw data resources used to populate the Vendor Finder Tool are, the SBA Profile at and the Federal Procurement Data System.

The intent is to eventually provide a full range of industry searches. Contractors of all sizes would be well served to immediately improve all federal registrations with appropriate NAICS codes, keywords and phrases, as well as past performance listings, so this new tool can immediately identify the best-matched vendors with the acquisition professionals requiring their services or products.

Gloria Larkin is president and CEO of TargetGov, in Linthicum. Email [email protected], visit or call 866-579-1346 for more information.


The following information regarding awarded contracts can be used to develop prime contractor, subcontractor and teaming partner relationships on these and other opportunities. For more information, contact TargetGov at 410-579-1346.

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