Problems And Progress Of The U.S. Army Materiel Command's Automated Data Processing Service Center Concept

B-178806: Published: Oct 9, 1974. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 1974.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army Materiel Command's automated data processing service center concept, focusing on whether: (1) centralization of automated data processing operations as planned by the Army would result in expected economies; and (2) the System-wide Project for Electronic Equipment at Depots Extended (SPEEDEX) would enable functional managers to more effectively perform their duties.

GAO noted that: (1) SPEEDEX affects the Army's entire logistical mission; (2) developing and implementing SPEEDEX is a large, complex, and demanding undertaking; (3) difficulties in designing, developing, and implementing SPEEDEX are to be expected, because of the high degree of integration demanded by the functional user and the service center concept; (4) during system development and implementation, the Command has actively sought solutions to the numerous problems encountered and often resolved them; (5) however, even though extensive time and effort has been expended by the Command in developing SPEEDEX, the system continues to be burdened with a combination of computer equipment and computer program problems; (6) the frequency and magnitude of these problems have limited the system's efficiency and effectiveness for the functional manager; (7) as originally conceived by the Army, SPEEDEX was expected to result in annual recurring savings ranging from $6.3 to $9.7 million; (8) service centering was expected to add greatly to those savings; (9) the bulk of the recurring savings was expected to result primarily from reductions in functional and operating personnel; (10) however, dramatic decreases in the Command's total work force, primarily attributable to U.S. disengagement in Southeast Asia, make it appear questionable whether the Army will realize the economies expected from SPEEDEX and service centering; (11) SPEEDEX's lengthy development period has also reduced the expected savings; (12) SPEEDEX was originally expected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 1972 at an estimated cost of $10.2 million; (13) however, through August 1972 total development costs were $13.4 million and SPEEDEX had not yet been completed; (14) an estimated 160 to 200 man-years will be required through 1975 to correct system deficiencies; and (15) development costs continue to increase.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Commanding General, Army Materiel Command, should treat the existing SPEEDEX system as an interim system and design it to take full advantage of the benefits offered by centralization. This should include: (1) extending the existing contract with Control Data Corporation for a reasonable period to allow for development of the new system; (2) reevaluating the computer configuration required to realize the full potential of data processing centeralization; (3) rebidding the computer configuration; and (4) redesigning the software to: (a) correct faulty program logic; (b) make better and more efficient use of third-generation computer equipment; (c) better meet the needs of the functional user; and (4) reduce computer runtime and the tremendous volumes of printed output.

    Agency Affected:

 

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