FPDS Pro™: The U.S. Federal Government's Contracts Database Makes Its DACIS Debut
Dear DACIS Subscribers,
We've been preparing something very special for this, InfoBase Publishers' 20th anniversary year. A product rollout which we believe will be our most important ever—our iPhone™, if you will. It's been a long time coming. How long? Well, let me begin on a personal note.
When I came into the defense/government industry in the late 1980s as a younger man working for his father's consulting company, the database I worked with first and most was published by the Federal Procurement Data Center. The database (let's call it by its current name, FPDS—the "S" standing for System) particularly impressed my father, who had been an intelligence officer before entering industry. "In my naval career I seldom had the luxury of working with a data source like this one," he told me once. And indeed there seemed to be no end to the requirements that FPDS could satisfy:
  • If a customer wanted us to analyze the market for, say, air traffic control radars, FPDS could do that.
  • If their interest was in understanding spending patterns at a particular agency or center, FPDS could break them out.
  • And if they wanted us to analyze a competitor, a potential subcontractor, or a possible acquisition candidate, well, FPDS was the data source of first resort for that, too.
Three decades later FPDS is just as relevant—a "master of all trades" for those skilled in its use. But you do have to be skilled, because the sources where you can access it aren't particularly impressive (and in one notable case have become less so).
So we decided to create a version of FPDS which would open it up to the less skilled—while making the more skilled much more efficient. Our watchword going in was that our FPDS product would have unprecedented ease of use and unequaled power. And it would be fast—we wanted those 50 million records to be as responsive as an Italian sports car.
Hitting those goals has required a major investment in time and treasure. We think we hit them all. And along the way we just may have also bulls-eyed an intangible "X-factor": This product isn't just intuitive, it's not just powerful, it's fun. The interface recedes, and insights stand forward. Testing this product wasn't a chore.
Here's what you can look for in the all-new FPDS Pro™:

  • Guided Search. When searching 50 million records, each of them containing hundreds of fields, you need all the help you can get. That's why we created Guided Search. With Guided Search as your reliable guide, every time you refine a search, you'll be met with rank-ordered lists of available options. Each new selection will further refine the results available to you. It's search, but you're going to think of it as discovery.
  • Saved Searches. Whether you're monitoring a company, a customer, a market, or a program, you'll appreciate Saved Searches. Your complex searches can be stored and brought up again at your convenience. They'll always open with up-to-date results. Saved Searches can be modified at any time.
  • Export. Once you've honed your search to perfection, you can export the results to your favorite spreadsheet program. We provide options for limited exports of the most important fields, or full exports of more than 200 fields.
  • Reports. We provide more than a dozen report formats. Customized information can be exported from all of them. But you may decide not to export: this feature has the power of a pivot table, built in.
  • DACIS Integration. Our competition can't provide it. We don't provide anything without it.

For me the launch of this product closes a circle which began to be drawn when I was learning the industry, in the office across the hall from my father. I wish he was here to see it—but if he was he'd probably protest my dedicating it to him. This one's for you, Dad.
For you, our valued customers, I believe that this product will do what it did for our consulting company, way back in the Reagan era—revolutionize the way you look at companies, customers, markets, and programs.
Our first webinar dedicated to FPDS Pro™ will be on Oct. 27th. I'll be on the call, and I hope to be welcoming many of you.
Best regards,

Stuart McCutchan
InfoBase Publishers, Inc.
Oct. 17, 2016
Oct 17, 2016