Defense Management:

Stronger Support Needed for Corporate Information Management Initiative to Succeed

AIMD/NSIAD-94-101: Published: Apr 12, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts in implementing the Corporate Information Management Initiative (CIM), focusing on the progress made toward improving DOD business processes and information systems.

GAO found that: (1) the results of DOD efforts to change its business processes, standardize and integrate data, and improve its information systems under CIM have been mixed; (2) although DOD has successfully implemented CIM in certain functional areas, improvements in other areas have been marginal; (3) DOD cannot accurately determine CIM implementation costs because implementation efforts are not centrally funded or tracked; (4) DOD needs to base its CIM investments on reliable cost information, develop a comprehensive strategic plan that provides clear goals, objectives, and responsibilities, and focus its implementation efforts on reengineering business procedures and information systems so that CIM investments are cost-effective, successful, and increase productivity; (5) DOD management has not given CIM sufficient priority for it to garner departmentwide support; and (6) without support from all management levels, DOD cannot adequately allocate the resources necessary to support top level managers decisions or sucessfully implement CIM.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred but noted that it already requires these analyses and reviews.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require that the costs and benefits of major process and systems improvements be assessed prior to making investment decisions and that post-audits be performed to assess benefits and verify cost savings obtained.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred but stated that it already requires sound economic and technical analyses of migration systems before implementation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require that migration systems be supported by sound economic and technical analyses before implementation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred but stated that it is already ensuring CIM with an appropriate balance.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure an appropriate balance between departmental efforts to reengineer and integrate business processes and to standardize systems. This should be included as a key aspect of the Department's strategic CIM plan and is critical to obtaining significant, long-term operational improvements and savings, while concurrently making short-term systems improvement efforts where justified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD partially concurred, agreeing with the need for strategic planning to guide CIM. DOD disagreed with the specific items to be included in its strategic plan(s). DOD believes specifics such as tasks and resources should be included in other documents.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure the development of a cohesive, complete strategic plan to guide CIM implementation and integration. This plan should build on the Executive Level Group's recommendations and the 1991 CIM implementation plan and clearly articulate the goals and objectives of the initiative, identify major tasks to be performed and associated resource requirements, define responsibilities and authority, and prescribe milestones for actions to be completed. The plan should also clearly describe relationships between each of the functional areas.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred and stated that it has used assistance from expert practitioners in the past.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should seek the views of outside expert practitioners to provide independent perspectives on the CIM initiative.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD partially concurred, agreeing with the need for a management strategy and issued its CIM Strategic Plan on June 13, 1994. DOD disagreed with the need for a chief information officer, stating that this position would duplicate responsibility for the senior information resource management official. DOD agreed with the need for a departmentwide board and established the Enterprise Integration Executive Board and supporting Enterprise Integration Corporate Management Council.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure the expeditious development of a management strategy with well-defined roles and authorities to: (1) plan and manage CIM; (2) gain the mutual commitment and support of the military services and Defense agencies to overcome cultural barriers that are deeply entrenched in some areas and in the process of changing in other areas; and (3) manage and control funds to ensure effective implementation and integration of improved business processes and systems. This should include establishing a Chief Information Officer and could involve creating a committee or board that includes the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the secretaries of the military services, the principal staff assistants (PSA), and the Chief Information Officer.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurred, noting that: (1) many of its PSAs have already prepared plans; and (2) its CIM Strategic Plan requests that functional managers prepare plans consistent with the overall plan. DOD also stated it would use the best cost data available to identify costs/benefits.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct PSA to establish plans consistent with the overall strategic plan's goals and objectives. Additionally, these plans should include performance measures to evaluate progress within their respective functional areas. These measures should be used to assess current operations and reengineered processes and identify costs and savings derived from functional improvements and new systems. A prerequisite to this is the need to systematically collect reliable cost information.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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