DOD EMALL — eCommerce for the Government Case Study

Executive Summary

DOD EMALL was the brainchild of Partnet founder Dr. Don Brown. It was the offshoot of an idea to use the then-infant Internet as a more efficient way to source engineering parts. The idea was generalized to all sorts of items necessary for the DOD to run. DOD EMALL was one of the first multi-vendor, multi-industry eCommerce sites, and since going live in 1998 – has grown to handle over 15 million orders, for hundreds of thousands of users.

The Challenges

DOD EMALL was conceived to help make the DOD procurement system more efficient, allowing for easier price comparisons, and easier aggregation of demand. Partnet was funded by DARPA to create the proof of concept, the project was then moved to the DLA’s Research and Development group.

Partnet’s early experience in Internet commerce and culture of efficient development made them the perfect choice to create and run the DOD EMALL. Partnet’s talented developers were able to create the interfaces to both legacy DOD systems and credit card banks using the new standards of eCommerce that commercial companies were starting to adopt for their catalogs and interfaces.

The Solution

As the DOD has cycled in and out of a war footing, it has needed the capability to do more with less and security is of the utmost concern.  To that end, Partnet has added several ancillary capabilities to DOD EMALL to avoid the creation of other web-sites. Also, integrating with the Army Funds Control Module has helped that service better track and control its spending patterns. Partnet’s team is always staying at the forefront of digital security and was instrumental in the DOD EMALL being among the first DLA system to gain DIACAP accreditation.  Partnet also recommended Open Source infrastructure elements long before most systems were using them, as well as PCI compliance before it was a well-accepted standard.

Partnet has built a system that integrates commercial catalogs with government sources, and all types of items, yet it is easy to use and helps thousands of users do their various procurements quickly and efficiently. At the same time it ensures peace of mind in procurement managers by supporting compliance with DOD’s many regulations (e.g. small business goals, environmentally friendly purchases, Ability One, rotation of sources, comparisons and justifications, etc.).

Partnet worked closely with DOD EMALL PMO to design a system that would satisfy the initial requirements, and then implemented it quickly and efficiently.  Since then Partnet’s motivated development team has allowed the DOD EMALL to keep pace with the evolution of the DOD’s security, financial, and compliance requirements.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

Today DOD EMALL is running at a 99.9% up-time—while handling millions of purchases approaching $1 billion a year for tens of thousands of customers in a safe and secure manner. In most cases the DOD EMALL usage replaced manual or phone procurements, saving government employee’s time that could be spent on other productive activities.

Partnet has been on-time with every DOD EMALL release for the past ten years, encompassing dozens of releases – both major and minor. We have also consistently received Exceptional evaluations in our Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) and Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) reports. We are proud to have developed and supported the DOD EMALL website over the last 20 years.