Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023
DGS ushers in new era of e-procurement with eVA update By KILLEEN WELLS
In 2001, the Department of General Services unveiled a new statewide electronic procurement system called eVA that revolutionized how the Commonwealth bought goods and services from a decentralized, paper-based process to a centralized, electronic platform. Since then, eVA has been recognized repeatedly as a national leader in procurement technology as it continued to evolve to meet the needs of Virginia’s public bodies and its businesses. On November 1, 2022, DGS launched a brand new eVA platform that drew from the lessons learned over 20 years of procurement innovation to offer new and improved functionality for government buyers and businesses who sell to the Commonwealth, as well as increased transparency for citizens, businesses, elected officials and others who want to understand how taxpayer dollars are spent. In the first month following the transition, DGS processed over 21,000 purchase orders in the new platform. That number will continue to grow in the coming months as users fully implement the new platform. Today, eVA is used by more than 245 state agencies, institutes of higher education, boards and authorities, and more than 800 local governments and public bodies, to announce bidding opportunities, receive quotes, place and approve orders, manage contracts, and more. eVA also includes nearly 120,000 businesses competing to provide the Commonwealth with quality goods and services, resulting in more than $25 million in annual savings. After a competitive bidding process, DGS awarded CGI the contract to implement a new software platform and update the functionality of the system. Together the DGS eVA team and CGI worked to improve eVA’s shopping experience for government purchasers, including better catalog maintenance and buyer tools. They also enhanced services for businesses that supply goods to government bodies, including improved electronic order delivery, contracts, catalogs, For a uniquely Richmond experience, stay at Richmond’s oldest and newest boutique hotel. From the tatooed entrance doors on our suites, to the art and furnishings from local artisans, to the finest RVA craft beers and Black Hand Coffee Company products, The Commonwealth is like none other. Our luxurious suites are equally comfortable for an overnight romantic getaway or a long term assignment. Located in the heart of downtown, directly across from the Virginia State Capitol. Welcome Home Located steps from the General Assembly, Virginia State Capitol, and federal courts buildings, we’ve been the Richmond hom for legislators and lobbyists f r over a ce tury. With 59 guest suites and 3,000 square f et of flexible event space, we are large en ugh to host your meeting or reception, yet small enough to offer the personal attention you deserve.
and improvement plans, and they worked to create greater collaboration between users and suppliers. The new platform increases standardization across functions to make eVA easier to use and created new smart routing and workflow functions to increase process efficiencies. Future functionality plans include
the submission of electronic invoices by suppliers. This will improve the payment process and allow improved visibility from purchase orders, to receipt of goods, to invoice/payment. With approximately 650,000 purchase orders issued annually, DGS wanted to ensure doing business with the Commonwealth was as easy as possible. For Virginia’s citizens, the agency wanted to build upon the critical transparency features that eVA brought to state purchasing many years ago. While purchase order and business opportunity data continued to be available following the November 1 transition, DGS plans to expand eVA’s transparency features over time. DGS is working with agencies to publish their agency contracts, which will provide increased transparency including contractors, contract terms, available renewals, and supporting documents. All of this data, and more, is available for free to those who are interested to learn what their government is buying and from whom. The data warehouse draws from eVA’s massive database of over 11.8 million purchase orders placed dating back to 2001. Users also can learn about how Virginia buys goods, the rules and regulations that apply, and produce reports that make the data not only easily accessible but also easy to understand. The transparency features aid businesses that want to learn which public bodies are buying what they sell, who they’re buying it from, and more. Businesses also can use eVA to connect to other vendors that would like to partner on opportunities. With all these features for government, businesses, and citizens, the eVA procurement website averages 34,000 visits from more than 15,000 unique visitors weekly. DGS is excited to move on to the second phase of the new platform rollout in the coming months. While the first two decades of eVA have ushered in vast improvements to government purchasing, aided businesses that sell to the Commonwealth, and increased government accountability through increased transparency, DGS looks forward to seeing what the next 20 years will bring with the progression of eVA. If you haven’t spent any time in eVA, now is a good time to explore the Commonwealth’s prestigious electronic procurement system and see for yourself how easy it is to do business withVirginia. Killeen Wells is the Deputy Director in the Department of General Services’ Office of Communications.
V irginia C apitol C onnections , W inter 2023
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