Within the Department of Commerce, the Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations (OIG-OI) is responsible for conducting timely and efficient investigations into the fraud, waste and abuse of government programs and systems. The information captured during these investigations requires a secure means of tracking the data findings. The OIG-OI maintained an out dated case tracking system and was in search of a new system that would allow for more accurate and efficient tracking of case data, as well as provide real time statistical information and up to the minute results. The system would also need to be flexible/mobile to improve productivity and account for agents working in multiple field offices, scaleable to adjust for the OIG-OI plans for future staffing increases, and paperless to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
OIG-OI identified an existing case tracking system currently in use by USAID that would serve as a starting point for the new system they wished to develop. OIG-OI contracted with AboutWeb to analyze the existing GOTS program including a detailed code review, to provide recommendations for security and functional enhancements and modifications and to develop the new case management system.
Scope and Objectives:
AboutWeb performed a full life-cycle requirements analysis of the USAID GOTS program to determine its suitability to meet OIG-OI's needs. It was discovered that the program contained boiler plate code on top of which multiple organizations had performed modifications and adjustments to meet their individual needs, resulting in a code base that was inconsistent and poorly documented. AboutWeb provided recommendations for an overall program improvement strategy to upgrade, enhance, modify, optimize and otherwise repairing the code to meet the needs of DOC-OIG-OI case tracking requirements.
Once the strategy and recommendations were approved by OIG-OI, AboutWeb responsible for implementing the modifications as agreed, ensuring that the program code would comply with all documentation, security and accessibility requirements in preparation for a formal Certification & Accreditation review.
AboutWeb worked directly on-site with the OIG-OI setup a development environment in ColdFusion 8 and migrate the older program code over. The code was placed in a version control system designed to maintain current and historical versions of the source code from that point forward. The code was scanned for incompatibilities with ColdFusion 8, and fixes were applied as necessary while the original version of the code was maintained in the version control repository.
Once the initial fixes were applied, AboutWeb proceeded to modify the existing code using Object Oriented Programming and Design Methodologies to create a more robust and secure database including: modification of database tables, queries, reports, and function calls; as well as modification of the application layer and layout/design to meet the established DOC-OIG-OI business requirements.
AboutWeb was also tasked with providing hands-on training to the OI Project Manager on an ongoing basis (throughout the term of the contract), and assisting in the development of an online help manual and onsite training course.
Results and Benefits:
The anticipated timeline for the initial project scope was 4 months. These 4 months entailed extensive review of the existing system code, major modifications to the existing code and the creation of new code to make the coding current with today's technologies. AboutWeb met these requirements without hesitation. The initial scope of work was achieved on time and within budget.
In addition to major revisions to the coding, preparation of the program was necessary so the program would pass the rigorous Certification and Accreditation process. For any system to go live on a government network, it must pass stringent tests against the code. AboutWeb worked diligently with DOC-OIG-OI and another contractor to ensure all processes would clear and meet the required C&A mandated guidelines.
Even with the relatively short timeline involved, AboutWeb was able to modify the code to meet OIG's goals and in addition, assisted in identifying other enhancements that would provide the OIG a stronger program. Since the DOC-OIG-OI was so pleased with the product to date, it was decided to extend AboutWeb's contract an additional six months to build the discussed and recommended enhancements and to take the program one step further.
There have been no issues to date that called for any corrective action by AboutWeb. The OIG-OI Program Manager has provided a referral letter stating AboutWeb's ability to provide programming expertise to meet OIG-OI's needs and to help develop a stronger program.