A State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that the agency lacks integrated financial management and procurement IT systems to support efficient contracting operations and a knowledge management strategy to efficiently store and retrieve essential information.

The report— which covers an inspection of State’s Office of Acquisition Management’s (AQM) Diplomatic Security Contracts Division’s (DSCD) contract management, oversight, and support services— said that “the volume and complexity of the division’s workload made this situation especially challenging.”

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“Despite the volume and complexity of the its workload, OIG found that DSCD staff relied on manual data entry to track and manage information on key contracting processes,” the report said. “Staff said this reliance on manual data entry slowed their work and complicated management’s ability to ensure adherence to internal controls.”

OIG said three issues contributed to the problem:

  • AQM has not yet completed an analysis to map State’s IT architecture to identify potential integration capabilities for systems used for procurement;
  • DSCD lacks management strategy knowledge to efficiently manage a large volume of information in files; and
  • The two systems that DSCD relies on were not fully integrated, limiting the division’s ability to manage information like funding levels for delivery orders and contracting actions.

OIG made two recommendations in this area to address the problem, both of which the State Department agreed with:

  • A schedule of potential systems improvements should be created that incorporates the results of IT architecture mapping analysis performed by the Office of Acquisitions Management; and
  • A knowledge of management strategy should be developed and implemented for DSCD.

On the positive side for DSCD, the OIG highlighted how the division had “initiated two informal training sessions that gave contracting officers and contracting officer’s representatives a platform to share information on contracting topics.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.