Land Management Systems:

Status of BLM's Actions to Improve Information Technology Management

AIMD-00-67: Published: Feb 24, 2000. Publicly Released: Feb 24, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO followed up on the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) efforts to implement GAO's recommendations for improving the development of its Automated Land and Minerals Record System (ALMRS),focusing on whether BLM has: (1) adequately assessed the usability of the ALMRS Initial Operating Capability (IOC) and alternatives to meet its business needs; (2) adequately assessed and strengthened its investment management processes and practices; (3) obtained an independent assessment of its systems acquisition capabilities and strengthened its systems acquisition processes; and (4) made or is making sizable investments prior to strengthening its investment management and systems acquisition processes.

GAO noted that: (1) BLM has begun to address GAO's recommendations to analyze the usefulness of ALMRS IOC and to assess and strengthen its investment management and systems acquisition capabilities; (2) BLM prepared a preliminary report of its technical and functional analysis of ALMRS IOC and concluded that the system was not operationally ready for deployment because it did not meet the bureau's business needs; (3) according to BLM, ALMRS IOC usability problems could not be repaired without a major technical effort and significant costs; (4) BLM has not yet developed a plan, schedule, or milestones for completing the analysis of ALMRS IOC and other alternatives; (5) BLM has now assessed its information resources management (IRM) methodologies, policies and strategies, and organizational structures; (6) the assessment contractor identified numerous problems and deficiencies and made over 90 recommendations to improve BLM's investment management and IRM functions; (7) BLM is beginning to address the recommendations and strengthen its investment management practices; (8) BLM has also obtained an independent assessment of its systems acquisition capabilities; (9) the assessment contractor found that BLM's acquisition processes are immature, the characteristics of which include the lack of a stable software development and maintenance environment and abandonment of planned procedures when executing projects; (10) the assessment contractor found that BLM's acquisition capabilities were immature; (11) BLM has drafted revised systems acquisition procedures and plans to implement a formal systems acquisition policy after it completes a bureauwide architecture; (12) BLM's chief information officer stated that the bureau is not planning any major systems acquisition or development efforts until after its architecture is completed and its business needs have been documented; (13) BLM is in the early stages of addressing GAO's recommendations to strengthen its investment management and systems acquisition capabilities; and (14) as a result, it is too early to tell whether BLM's efforts will be fully responsive to GAO's recommendations or help reduce its future information technology risks.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BLM has made substantial progress in developing a comprehensive and integrated information technology investment management program. In September of 2001, BLM developed a guide detailing its investment management process. This guide integrates various areas of IT management including investment management, enterprise architecture, and systems acquisition. Our 2003 evaluation of the bureau's investment management capabilities concluded that BLM had made good progress in establishing key practices for effectively managing its IT investments. The bureau has also strengthened its basic capabilities for selecting and controlling projects and positioned itself to develop the processes for managing its investments as a portfolio.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to develop a comprehensive and integrated information technology investment management program as defined by the Clinger-Cohen Act by completing the integration of BLM's projects to strengthen its investment management and systems acquisition processes and practices.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: BLM developed an integrated project plan and schedule in March 2000. The plan described activities that could move BLM to capability level 2 of GAO's Information Technology Investment Management Model and level 2 of the Software Engineering Institute's CMM.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to complete the development of an overall project plan, schedule, and milestones for actions to strengthen its investment management processes and practices and systems acquisition capabilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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