NTIS eyes e-learning

Three years after the Commerce Department announced plans to close the National Technical Information Service, the agency continues to pursue innovative endeavors.

Earlier this month, NTIS released a request for information for a joint venture partner to help develop and deliver a hosted e-learning and knowledge management service for high-security federal agencies.

The RFI is a reminder that the service is still seeking ways to turn a profit. Since 1988, the agency has been required to earn at least enough money to pay for itself, but it hasn't been easy.

"I think because of its financial difficulties, they have been struggling to find new business opportunities," said Judith Russell, deputy director of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. "They've had a longtime charter to do joint ventures. A couple [have been] successful."

With the e-learning and knowledge management venture, NTIS could be on to something good, according to Bryan Chapman, an e-learning analyst at brandon-hall.com. "Most of the off-the-shelf products don't conform to security needs," Chapman said. "It's an intriguing problem. I think they're looking to fill an interesting niche."

NTIS is seeking one or more companies that would invest in the venture, which would yield a revenue-sharing opportunity, according to the RFI.

NTIS officials were unavailable for comment.

"There's a whole debate in e-learning [about] whether to go with local or hosted," Chapman said. "A lot of high-security agencies go with local. There's a certain amount of nervousness there. [But with] hosted, they don't have to have dedicated [information technology] staff and [it's] more accessible by multiple groups."

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.