GSA's interoperability lab looks for more work

The General Services Administration's interoperability lab, which is testing products to see if they meet Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 standards, is waiting for a backlog.
So far, the approval process, which is the last step before agencies can buy products and services to meet, is taking an average of only two days to complete.
April Giles, GSA's evaluation program chief architect, said last week that the lab has approved 23 products and services from 35 vendors.
'We would like to see some backlog,' said Giles, who spoke at the Interagency Smart Card Advisory Board meeting in Washington.
GSA is testing products to make sure they are interoperable with each other, while the National Institute of Standards and Technology is assessing products and services to ensure they meet Federal Information Processing Standard 201-1.
GSA officials have said they want to have at least three approved products in each of the 20 categories.

Giles said the lab has received applications for approval of 165 products, but many applications are incomplete. She also said 64 vendors have said they are interested in submitting products or services, but 29 have not done so.

GSA has rejected 40 applications because their documentation was not complete. She said the top reason applications were rejected is that the vendor submitted the documents but not the actual product or service to be tested.

Giles had a few tips for vendors:
  • Understand the approval procedures.

  • Don't change the forms and send them in. Call her to discuss any concerns.

  • Complete the online application when the product or service actually exists.

  • Make sure the contact-person information is on the application and that the person answers their phone.

  • Don't upload documents until the application is completed.

  • Provide contact numbers with all e-mails sent to her.

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