NASA Spinoff

Electronic Handbooks Simplify Process Management

REI has also taken its NASA SBIR domain knowledge to other agencies—DHS’s Science and Technology, the Small Business Administration, and DOE—where it is currently developing systems for their SBIR programs. In turn, REI has leveraged its open government and dashboarding solutions for the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration (Recovery.gov, ITDashboard.gov, and USASpending. gov are some eGov sites developed by REI) and brought those solutions back to NASA to provide data visualization capabilities. Innovation with the EHB has been a two-way street.

According to REI, EHBs create a system that has lower maintenance, support, and upgrade costs, as well as reduced publication, distribution, and storage costs. An organization using an EHB will benefit from increased productivity and efficiency, enhanced communication and collaboration, enterprise-wide knowledge management, and increased data quality and accuracy. Samidha Manu, senior program manager at REI, says, “We look at what our customers’ needs are, and then we provide what makes the most sense in an automated tool. The big push is to make the process efficient, to make it work more effectively.”

REI’s largest EHBbased system supports HRSA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, to provide competitively awarded grant funding to states and localities in providing healthcare and affiliated services to underserved communities nationwide. The EHB supports more than 300 grant programs and cooperative agreements, more than 10,000 grantees, and 1,500 HRSA employees.

Manu expresses appreciation to NASA for helping REI get to where it is today. “The tools deployed for NASA Goddard, in one form or another, have been adapted to the technology or solutions that we are deploying for other Federal agencies and doing a variety of things we probably never anticipated,” she says. “In 1998, there were hardly any Federal Internet applications to speak of. Since then, all types of Web applications have exploded.”