The Federal government spends roughly $190 billion to $220 billion on the acquisition of goods and services each year, making it the largest purchaser in the world. Recent procurement reforms enacted into law have led federal agencies to undertake various initiatives to streamline acquisitions, including the use of electronic technologies to reduce costs and improve collaboration with suppliers. These individual agency initiatives also have produced serious inefficiencies, including duplication of effort, information systems that cannot exchange data with other agencies, and a lack of data standards.
The Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE) initiative is designed to create a secure business environment that will facilitate and support cost-effective acquisition of goods and services by agencies, while eliminating inefficiencies in the current acquisition landscape. Through the initiative, common acquisition functions that can benefit all agencies, such as the maintenance of information about suppliers (e.g., capabilities, past performance histories) will be managed as a shared service. Initial efforts will focus on several elements central to establishing the IAE, including:
- Creating single on-line access to tools and capabilities that will assist agency acquisition professionals by providing a directory to facilitate ordering from interagency contracts and catalogs on-line across the government.
- Establishing a Business Partner Network that will provide a single point of registration, validation, and access for all supplier data.
- Redesigning the process for government-to-government transactions in order to streamline ordering, billing, and collection and to improve the financial settlement process.
- Modernizing and enhancing the acquisition management information system.
The IAE will provide benefits to the government and its suppliers. Improved cross-agency coordination will help the government to better use its buying power. Additionally, the IAE will reduce purchase transaction costs and cycle times for acquisition actions, enable agency managers to make better strategic and planning decisions, and lead to increased opportunities for small businesses.