What GAO Found
Information technology (IT) acquisition best practices have been developed by both industry and the federal government to help guide the successful acquisition of investments. For example, GAO recently reported on nine factors that were considered as critical to successful acquisitions (see table).
Common Critical Success Factors
Program officials were actively engaged with stakeholders
Program staff had the necessary knowledge and skills
Senior department and agency executives supported the programs
End users and stakeholders were involved in the development of requirements
End users participated in testing of system functionality prior to formal end user acceptance testing
Government and contractor staff were consistent and stable
Program staff prioritized requirements
Program officials maintained regular communication with the prime contractor
Programs received sufficient funding
Source: GAO analysis of agency data; see GAO-12-7 .
One key IT reform initiative undertaken by OMB to improve transparency is a public website, referred to as the IT Dashboard, which provides detailed information on about 700 major IT investments at 27 federal agencies, including ratings that are to reflect the level of risk facing an investment on a scale from 1 (high risk) to 5 (low risk). In
To better manage the department's existing IT systems and ensure their efficient, cost effective operation, Defense is consolidating the department's almost 2,000 reported data centers which could lead to billions in savings, according to the department. The department is also continuing to identify duplicative spending as part of an OMB initiative known as PortfolioStat, which, among other things, requires agencies to conduct annual reviews of its IT investments and make decisions on eliminating duplication. The department estimates
The federal government reportedly plans to spend at least
GAO has previously reported and testified that federal IT projects too frequently fail and incur cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes. Further, GAO has highlighted several examples of Defense investments that have not delivered results within planned cost and schedule estimates. Numerous best practices and administration initiatives are available for agencies that can help them improve the oversight and management of IT acquisitions.
GAO is testifying today on how best practices and IT reform initiatives can help Defense better manage major acquisitions and legacy investments.
What GAO Recommends
GAO has previously made numerous recommendations to OMB and federal agencies, including Defense, on key aspects of IT acquisition management, as well as the oversight and management of these investments. Defense generally agreed but has not fully implemented these recommendations.
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