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In response to a congressional request, the GAO reviewed the Small Business Administration's (SBA) automated systems and information resources management (IRM) activities to determine whether: (1) they assist its regional and district offices in carrying out the agency's major programs; and (2) they are adequate, appropriate, and effective.
The GAO found that: (1) SBA did not systematically involve field offices in the design and development of six primary automated systems that supported major programs; (2) SBA did not have an ongoing review process for field users to identify and report system problems after systems became operational; and (3) certain systems produced inaccurate and untimely reports, did not provide access to some data in the central systems, or lacked information the field offices required to better manage agency programs.
The GAO also found that SBA: (1) did not formalize its data processing planning or adequately include field-office users and top management in this process; (2) lacked contractor performance measures and cost controls in its data processing contracts; (3) supervised contractor personnel under 15 data processing contracts in fiscal year 1985, contrary to federal regulations; (4) acquired a minicomputer through unsound purchase practices and without sufficient procurement and legal staff review; and (5) did not have independent, internal reviews to ensure that systems were well-designed or were working properly.