HUD plans for a major IT tune-up

HUD plans for a major IT tune-up

The Housing and Urban Development Department next week plans to issue a final solicitation to overhaul and run HUD's systems infrastructure.

Through the 10-year, multimillion-dollar HUD Information Technology Services project, the department will replace its current systems services contract, the $526 HUD Integrated Processing Service deal awarded in 1990 to Lockheed Martin Corp. HIIPS expires in 2003.

Through HITS, HUD plans to cover a range of services, including data processing and management, data recovery, printing and distribution, LAN and WAN services, and Web site administration.

The department expects to award the HITS contract early next year.

HUD issued the first HITS draft request for proposals in April, followed by the second draft in June and a third early this month.

HITS will be more sweeping than its predecessor, with the winning vendor taking on more support and management of the HUD infrastructure, said Debra Stouffer, HUD deputy chief information officer for IT reform. She spoke at a recent Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association meeting.

'Truly, industry has the best skills technically,' she said. 'We are shifting our focus to performance and results.'

Customer satisfaction

A major objective of the contract will be assuring satisfaction of both HUD management and its customers. According to the HITS documentation, HUD will measure customer satisfaction using metrics for timeliness and quality of support.

The department also expects to see a drop in what it spends on hardware, software, services and operations.

HUD now allocates $350 million annually to IT, 47 percent of which goes to infrastructure support, Stouffer said. 'We hope that will be drastically reduced with our new focus with HITS,' she said.

Other objectives include improving systems performance, maximizing productivity, monitoring systems and business practices, identifying opportunities for improvements and establishing effective service delivery teams.

Stouffer said the department will not micromanage the HITS contractor. Rather, she said, HUD will identify the services it expects, then look to the vendor to be innovative in how the services are delivered.

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