SBA consolidates financial support under single pact

The Small Business Administration's IT team believes it has solved maintenance, support and integration problems with the agency's financial system by consolidating three contracts to support the Oracle Federal Financials system under one contract.

SBA hired Corio Inc. of San Carlos, Calif., as its single application service provider.

Under the one-year contract, which includes four one-year options, Corio will do the work of SBA's three previous contractors, SBA chief financial officer Tom Dumaresq said.

'We were trying to improve service and reduce the cost of operating our system, and we think Corio will do both,' he said. 'The change will be transparent to our users, and they may even see increased performance.'

Dumaresq said the new agreement will save SBA about $1 million a year, and cost the agency between $400,000 and $500,000 annually.

The agency migrated its services to Corio earlier this month after transferring its software and data to Corio's data centers in Arizona and California, Keith Angell, Corio's senior vice president of worldwide sales, said. The company stores the SBA data on servers from Compaq Corp., Dell Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

'This is an expansion of how the government goes about using commercial software,' Angell said. 'We provide on-demand support that SBA pays for when they want it, and we have an environment set up to support their needs.'

Angell said Corio provides similar services to the Coast Guard, Navy and Treasury Department.
SBA's software and data resides on Corio's servers, and data is securely transmitted over T1 lines, Angell said.

Agency employees still will have the same access to the software and data as they did when SBA managed the financial system in-house, Angell said.

Full slate of services

Under the contract, Corio will upgrade SBA's system to Oracle11i in the next few months as well as provide troubleshooting, third-party software integration, ongoing system configuration support, training and business process redesign, Dumaresq said. Corio also will provide patches and fixes to the Oracle software when needed as part of the contract, he said.

Corio will supply these services only when SBA asks for it, meaning there is no charge until the contract modification is processed, Angell said.

Dumaresq said one of Corio's strengths was its security program.

Corio rotates three or four standard security protocols to protect SBA's data on its servers and when it's being transmitted over the Internet, Angell said.

'We enhance the normal security of SBA's system,' he said. 'We meet or exceed every government security and data integrity standards.'

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