Government eCommerce: A Proposal for Austere Times

I think it’s time for another leap forward in how the Government approaches acquiring supplies. The commercial sector is replete with much of the stuff that supports business (office) operations. It has become accepted that Government warehouses stocked with these materials are not needed to ensure the smooth performance of daily operations. A lot of the acquisition of these goods is done outside the officially sanctioned Federal Government eCommerce sites. The US Government is losing visibility of where the money is going instead of channeling the business into its own transparent, made-to-suit Internet capabilities. Opportunity for intensely leveraged prices, streamlined business processes and strategic sourcing are being lost daily. Let’s just take one small leap this year and install customer product review capability in our Government on-line ordering platforms.

If we’re in the mood for more than that, here is another suggestion:

Only companies with a US Government contract are allowed to vie for the Government Purchase Card (GPC) business online within officially sanctioned US Government websites (e.g., DOD EMALL and GSA Advantage). At the same time, GPC holders can walk into any brick-and-mortar location to select items off the shelf at will or visit any commercial website and click with abandon. Commercial terms and warranties are completely acceptable when no one is looking evidently. The US Government needs to capture that walk-in business on its own eCommerce platforms for three reasons:

The data being collected on Government Purchase Card (GPC) usage is murky and incomplete. By consolidating GPC activity to officially sanctioned Government owned and operated eCommerce sites transparency on GPC usage can be achieved.
Compliance with laws and regulations concerning mandatory sources and socioeconomic program support can be monitored and enforced.
Channeling this tremendous volume of supplies […]

eCommerce for Government IS Different

The differences between government eCommerce and eCommerce for commercial business might be difficult to notice at first glance, but these differences are key to a successful government eCommerce solution.

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