In 2020, the Small Business Administration will look to push a dozen legacy applications off its network and improve its enterprise view of its customers.

“Over the last three years we’ve been just really focused on the technology and modernization and really driving that change and now we really need to mature a lot of what we’re doing on our processes,” SBA Chief Information Officer Maria Roat told Federal Times.

The modernization will continue into 2020. SBA is folding 12 different log-in pages to one through login.gov, easing password management for its customers. Roat told Federal Times that she hopes to have that project done by the end of March. Roat also said that there are about a dozen small legacy applications she wants off the SBA network in the next year.

“So it’s gonna be a big push to get rid of those some of them are 15 years old,” Roat said. "And they get modernized.”

SBA will also roll out an enterprisewide customer relationship management (CRM) platform to get “that 360 view” of SBA customers. It has worked with several offices throughout the agency to get them to join the platform. Through the CRM, SBA will be able to see what tools its customers use and what they need. SBA needs the platform to see its customers over their lifecycles — from the time they go to a local SBA office to develop a business plan, to apply for a microloan and ultimately starting business with the federal government and receiving a certification like “women-owned small business.”

“Being able to see that journey of a customer end to end, we can’t see that today,” Roat said. “And that’s what we’re driving to do.”

The IT culture is a far cry from where the cabinet agency was a few years ago. Nagesh Rao, SBA’s director of business technology solutions, recently praised the IT leadership of Roat and her deputy, Guy Cavallo. Rao said that the key to SBA’s success thus far has been a “clear, steady hand” from CIO leadership.

“Maria and Guy have done a great job in helping clean up the IT infrastructure at SBA, but they came in inheriting about 10 years of delinquency,” Rao said at the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center Dec. 11.

For success to continue at SBA, Roat plans to take the same approach she’s had all along.

“Continuing to be relentless, keeping up with the projects and holding people’s feet to the fire on deadlines and continuing to show progress over time — I think that’s really important,” Roat said.

Andrew Eversden covered all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. Beforehand, he reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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