By Richard Handewith, Partner Business Executive, Department of General Services

In July 2016, the Department of General Services (DGS) established FI$Cal as the state of California’s official book of record for statewide procurement. Since then, as users have begun improving their skills, it has become evident that department users spend a lot of time creating requisitions and purchases orders. Today, most users enter requisition and purchase order data in FI$Cal line by line.

Even with FI$Cal’s strong online training programs and innovative user support options, users have identified the process as time-consuming and have requested a way to streamline data entry within the procurement modules. In response, DGS Procurement Division (PD) has partnered with FI$Cal to assist in transforming the user experience.

A “punch-out catalog” capability is a key system improvement under development. FI$Cal is partnering with the California Prison Industries Authority (CALPIA) web store to develop an online web catalog that interfaces directly with the FI$Cal system. The “punch-out catalog” functionality will allow FI$Cal users to shop and submit CALPIA orders directly through the FI$Cal requisition module. Using an Amazon-like shopping experience, users will have a seamless experience between product selection and purchase order creation.

We are happy to announce this functionality is planned to go live in the fall. Look for joint communications from DGS PD and FI$Cal in the coming months.

And there is more. The DGS PD, in cooperation with FI$Cal, is developing a state government-hosted online statewide eMarketplace that will act as a central access point between approved suppliers’ online catalogs and FI$Cal. The eMarketplace will ease users’ ability to find and order from approved suppliers based on categories such as small business, disabled veterans, leveraged procurement agreements and/or sustainability, among many others.

The eMarketplace is in the planning stage, and DGS PD anticipates having the statewide business requirements documented by the end of the calendar year for 2020.

As a partner to the Department of FISCal, DGS PD is committed to continuing to re-engineer the business operations of the state. FI$Cal modernized the accounting and procurement functions for state departments, and our next step is to focus on modernizing the relationship between the state and the suppliers it purchases from.