The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is looking for insight from the private sector on the agency’s plans to develop a cloud-based data and analytics platform to replace its legacy data system.

In a request for information (RFI) released on Aug. 3, FEMA explained that it is seeking input from industry on current commercial capabilities for agile IT product design, development, and delivery services for the FEMA Data Exchange (FEMADex), which is planned as a modernized cloud-based data and analytics platform.

The push for a new cloud-based platform comes after years of data analytics struggles across the enterprise. According to the RFI, these limitations have reduced FEMA’s ability “to deliver the information, tools, and insight that internal stakeholders and external partners need to help people before, during, and after disasters.”

The new system will replace FEMA’s legacy data system – the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) – designed before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“EDW interfaces with roughly 20 percent of [FEMA’s] source systems to meet data warehousing and reporting requirements. However, EDW is severely limited in scope and functionality,” the RFI states. “The system employs inflexible and antiquated technology, provides slow and unreliable data, and is expensive to update. Moreover, it cannot easily adapt to evolving data needs, scale to meet changes in demand, or exchange data with external stakeholders.”

Due to these restrictions, FEMA’s ability to rapidly scale capabilities, incorporate and share data, develop integrated reports, generate insight, create predictive models, and use modern analytic tools to support decision-making is limited.

As a result, FEMA’s Office of Policy and Program Analysis established the Enterprise Data and Analytics Modernization Initiative (EDAMI) Program to create an enterprise analytics capability by improving people, processes, and technology. One of the most critical moves by the EDAMI program is the replacement of EDW with a modernized cloud-based data and analytics platform.

The information from the RFI will inform the agency’s plans to award a contract and begin developing the new platform in 2024.

“FEMADex Agile delivery services must align with industry and government best practices for user-centric design, management, and delivery of cloud-based IT products to customers,” the RFI states.

FEMA anticipates the award of a contract to deliver agile development services in three areas: FEMADex Pilot Phase Evaluation and Development Phase Planning, FEMADex Initial Operating Capability, and FEMADex Full Operating Capability.

The RFI seeks the latest information on current and near-term commercial abilities for a modernized cloud-based data and analytics platform but does not constitute a commitment by the Federal government to award a contract.

Comments on the RFI are due by Aug. 15.

Read More About
More Topics
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.