On November 12th, the General Services Administration will decommission Federal Business Opportunities or FBO. This is a big change. For many years, FBO served as the primary portal for Federal agencies to advertise, and update, contracting opportunities valued over $25,000.
FBO is moving to beta.SAM.gov as part of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) SAM Modernization Project, the object of which is to create a single repository for all federal acquisition data. GSA will consolidate ten legacy procurement systems into SAM including Wage Determinations Online (WDOL), Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), and Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS). WDOL and CFDA have already transitioned to beta.SAM.gov and, starting next week, FBO will as well. A timeline has yet to be released for the remaining systems, but the expectation is that they will migrate to SAM by the end of 2020.
Beta.SAM.gov is already populated with numerous solicitations and other notices, and there are some marked improvements from what FBO has offered. Notices are cleaner, easier to navigate, and include several “one-click” options including the ability to download all attachments and view previous versions of notices. Also, search results contain additional data including proposal deadlines, which could only be found by opening individual notices in FBO.
Of course, there are some drawbacks, including limited search filters and award notices lacking links to original solicitations. These could be resolved once SAM evolves out of “beta”, but growing pains are likely to persist. In fact, some agencies are delaying their transition for that reason. The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it will not post notices to SAM until it resolves “system compatibility issues.” In the meantime, interested vendors are directed to monitor the FAA Contract Opportunities website. It remains to be seen if other agencies will follow suit.
Still, the FBO migration is moving forward so here is what contractors need to know:
- If you haven’t done so already, you should create a beta.SAM.gov account through gov. If you already have a login.gov account, be sure to link it to beta.SAM.gov. Once the account is created, ensure that the account details are accurate and that your individual user account is associated with the Contractor business profile.
- FBO “Watchlists” will not migrate to beta.SAM.gov. To ensure you don’t miss any updates to any notices you are monitoring, be sure to login to beta.SAM.gov and “Follow” the opportunities currently in your FBO Watchlist. “Search Agents” also will not migrate to beta.SAM.gov. You should log into FBO before it is decommissioned and note the filters in your Search Agents so you can recreate them as “Saved Searches” in beta.SAM.gov.
- Current “Interested Vendor Lists” (IVL) will migrate to beta.SAM.gov so luckily, no additional action will be needed to continue to receive IVL notices.
- Finally, getting familiar with beta.SAM.gov is pivotal so you should begin browsing the site and trying out the new search capabilities. You can also provide comments and suggestions to GSA as they finalize the system using the “Provide Feedback” button.
The transition presents a significant change to any contractor’s pipeline management process, so don’t hesitate to take these steps and get comfortable with beta.SAM.gov.
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