Aug 07 2018

SBA Searches for Tools to Achieve IT Modernization

The Small Business Administration is looking for a professional services partner to help it deliver on strategic technology upgrades.

Last year, the Small Business Administration embarked on “a stabilize and modernize” approach, in the words of CIO Maria Roat. The agency upgraded its IT infrastructure, stopped investing in new data center hardware and moved to the cloud.

“This next year is really moving into taking a look at the enterprise,” Roat said of 2018. “What do we need to do for the enterprise?” SBA has “laid the foundation over the last 12 months around the infrastructure, moving to the cloud, setting the stage for operations,” Roat said. She acknowledged that the agency has “a lot more work to do.”

Now, SBA’s strategic technology plans are coming more into focus. Last month, the agency issued a request for proposals for professional IT services to help the agency achieve its IT modernization goals. The contract, potentially worth up to $40 million, specifically is designed to provide the SBA’s office of the CIO with technical professional services to support the CIO’s strategic planning and engineering efforts for fiscal years 2018-2022. The IT services provider must also provide “architecture and engineering expertise in the implementation of CIO initiatives and technologies,” and other support as required to accomplish the SBA’s mission.

The contract spells out what some of the key technology priorities are going to be for SBA over the next several years.

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SBA Lays out IT Priorities Through Fiscal 2022

The RFP notes that the contractor must help SBA by providing architecture and engineering services for cloud and infrastructure, cybersecurity, mobility and operational support services.

Additionally, the contractor will be needed for enterprise data management and business intelligence architecture, engineering and operational services. Other areas where SBA needs help is in technology solutions evaluation, planning and execution, and in enterprise architecture support services. The vendor must provide recommendations to office of the CIO “on how to improve its strategic plan and assist” with program management. “The contractor will assist SBA CIO staff in assessing, updating and achieving its FY2018-2022 strategic and operational initiatives,” the RFP notes.

SBA’s CIO office wants the contractor to provide “IT engineering services that include a broad spectrum of consulting, architecture, engineering, operational and analytical services to aid and support” the government with complex IT issues under the overall management of the CIO.

These services will be in support of “SBA’s strategic efforts for FY2018-2022, implementation of CIO initiatives, SBA sponsored initiatives, and other support as may be required for mission accomplishment.” Further, the services will “include the analysis, design, architecture, integration, testing, and implementation of new and existing technology services.”

SBA notes that the services will be concentrated primarily on application systems and network WAN/LAN infrastructure, Microsoft’s Azure, Salesforce and other cloud services, IT projects and applications. “These include shared services, cloud services, and applications — either commercially available and/or developed in-house,” the RFP states.

As SBA continues its transformation to cloud-based services instead of on-premises data center services, support may include the following, along with many other services:

  • Provisioning environments in development, testing and production
  • Cloud architecture and design
  • Sizing of virtual machines, resource groups and others cloud components
  • Enterprisewide connectivity for offices and mobile workers
  • End-to-end integration of SBA’s hybrid environment
  • Cybersecurity engineering and controls analysis, implementation and updating to best practices and current federal government mandates
  • Engineering and operational support for other cloud, wide area or local area networking

SBA Tackles IT Modernization in Strategic Plan

The SBA’s strategic plan for fiscal years 2018-2022 calls for the agency to implement “enterprisewide information system modernization and cost-effective technology.”

Echoing Roat’s statements from last year, the plan notes that SBA “will take an enterprise approach to modernize, innovate, and test new capabilities to optimize meeting the business needs of its customers.” SBA’s IT infrastructure is “the foundation that enables SBA programs and operations,” the plan notes, adding that “delivering a consistent, reliable, and secure infrastructure is imperative to achieving this mission.”

“The SBA will upgrade its core infrastructure to become current with existing technologies, and will improve the reliability and availability of services that will help improve the Agency’s security posture,” the plan says.

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