Information Management:

Energy Lacks Data to Support Its Information System Streamlining Effort

AIMD-96-70: Published: Jul 23, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1996.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) software systems that support its Environmental Management Program, focusing on problems that could significantly impair DOE ability to eliminate duplicate information systems while it tries to streamline its information environment and achieve savings.

GAO found that: (1) DOE is basing its streamlining efforts on a baseline inventory of data on specific software systems, but the inventory is incomplete and lacks critical information on the systems' functional capabilities; (2) the inventory will not help to eliminate duplicate information systems; (3) only two-thirds of the DOE management and operating contractors responded to the 1995 DOE data request; (4) the data deficiencies are due to contractors' inconsistent development and implementation of software inventory procedures and standards and classification of systems, and DOE failure to require them to comply with DOE software management guidance; (5) DOE is developing new guidance for information resources management, but it still does not specify standards for classifying systems according to their functional capabilities or procedures for ensuring data integrity; and (6) contractors will still have wide latitude in their development and maintenance of software system inventories and DOE will not have an effective method for eliminating duplicate systems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In its official response to the report, the Department of Energy stated that it did not concur with the recommendation. The Department has further stated that it does not intend to implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Management to develop and include in the draft consolidated information resources management order: (1) specific standards for classifying software systems according to their functional capabilities; and (2) procedures for ensuring that the data included in software system inventories are complete and reliable.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In its official response to the report, the Department of Energy stated that it did not concur with the recommendation. The Department has further stated that it does not intend to implement the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Management to require all management and operating contractors to immediately evaluate their software system inventories for completeness and accuracy, address any weaknesses identified, and create and provide to the Office of Information Management a database that is consistent with DOE standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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