SBA OIG: Agency plans to migrate to another platform to address Certify.SBA.gov limitations

What OIG Reviewed

“This evaluation addresses SBA’s most recent information technology (IT) initiative intended to improve SBA’s small business contracting programs, Certify.SBA.Gov, referred to as Certify…”

“Our objectives were to determine whether (1) Certify improved SBA’s certification processes and (2) SBA followed applicable federal project management guidance when developing, implementing, and overseeing Certify. Our scope included Certify’s development, implementation, and oversight from its ratification in fiscal year2015 to the end of fiscal year 2019…”

What OIG Found

“We found that Certify has not accomplished its objectives to significantly improve SBA’s certification processes or facilitate small business participation in federal contracts. Although SBA has spent more than $30 million on the development of Certify and it offers some improved functionality, it does not have many of the essential search, analytical, and reporting tools it was supposed to have.”

“Since Certify’s introduction, SBA’s contracting programs have experienced delays in screening and approving applications, monitoring participant progress, and terminating noncompliant 8(a) firms. To compensate for Certify’s shortcomings, program analysts must use labor intensive methods external to the Certify platform, reducing Certify’s expected benefits for both SBA contracting program analysts and program participants. We identified a need for improved planning and performance oversight throughout this project. As a result, Certify did not meet its original goal of improving SBA’s small business certification process, and the $30 million investment has not yielded its intended results.”

“Moving forward, SBA plans to migrate to another platform to address Certify’s limitations. However, until SBA addresses these oversight weaknesses, there is a continued risk of repeating past project shortcomings.”

OIG Recommendations

“We made nine recommendations to improve SBA’s system development and contracting program management in the following areas: requirements, baseline management, risk management, investment monitoring, and reporting.”

Agency Response

“Management agreed with recommendations 2-5 and 7-9. Management partially agreed with recommendations 1 and 6. Management’s planned actions, discussed in the report, resolved recommendations 5, 7 and 8. However, proposed actions for recommendations 1 through 4, 6 and 9did not fully address the recommendations. In accordance with our audit follow-up policy, we will attempt to reach agreement with management on the six unresolved recommendations. If unsuccessful, we will notify the audit follow-up official of the disputed issues.”

Access the full 31-page report here.

Source: Evaluation of Certify.SBA.gov – July 30, 2020. SBA OIG.

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