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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the strengths and weaknesses of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 8(a) program information system, focusing on: (1) whether the system meets the information needs of SBA field and headquarters staff; and (2) what plans, if any, does SBA have for improving the existing system.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Administrator, SBA, should ensure that her staff, upon entering the planning phase of the 8(a) information systems modernization effort, design an integrated information system that provides a method for collecting data on appropriate performance measures, focusing on the assistance provided for 8(a) firms in addition to the number of 8(a) contracts awarded.
Closed - Implemented
SBA completed the design for its new 8(a) information system, and it includes a method to systematically track the training and assistance provided to 8(a) firms. On October 6, 2003, SBA let a contract to develop the system.
Small Business Administration The Administrator, SBA, should ensure that her staff, upon entering the planning phase of the 8(a) information systems modernization effort, design an integrated information system that takes advantage of the links to existing federal contract information sources, such as the Federal Procurement Data System, to minimize (1) the reporting responsibilities of contracting agencies and (2) data entry duties required at the district office level.
Closed - Implemented
The design for the new information system includes a feature to take advantage of links to the Federal Procurement Data System. This will minimize the reporting responsibilities of the contracting agencies and data entry duties at the SBA district office level.
Small Business Administration The Administrator, SBA, should ensure that her staff, upon entering the planning phase of the 8(a) information systems modernization effort, design an integrated information system that is designed in light of current software and data management development procedures and business processes and allows maximum flexibility and ease of use by all levels of staff.
Closed - Implemented
In completing the planning and design of the 8(a) information system modernization effort, SBA has ensured that the new system, the automated 8(a)/Small Business Development application and Management Information System will allow maximum flexibility and ease of use by all levels of staff.
Small Business Administration The Administrator, SBA, should ensure that her staff, upon entering the planning phase of the 8(a) information systems modernization effort, design an integrated information system that is protected at all levels by appropriate security controls, which are specifically addressed in up-to-date Standard Operating Procedures. In the interim, SBA should not continue to require 8(a) district staff to enter contracting information into the current system.
Closed - Implemented
In planning for and designing the 8(a) information system, SBA has addressed security controls to protect the system at all levels. In addition, the plans call for appropriate security controls to be addressed in SBA's standard operating procedures.

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