Veterans Administration's Plans To Noncompetitively Upgrade Its Austin, Texas, Data Processing Center

FGMSD-79-27: Published: May 23, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 7, 1979.

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GAO was requested to review the Veterans Administration's (VA) plans to upgrade noncompetitively its Austin, Texas Data Processing Center (DPC), and the agency's management and use of its automated data processing (ADP) services. Based on its review, GAO concluded that the planned replacement of current equipment of the Austin DPC was not warranted because the VA requirements analysis understated the current system capacity and proposed no means of minimizing computer resource requirements, operational and procedural changes can achieve gains beyond system performance improvements already in effect, and interim solutions less costly than noncompetitive replacement can meet current VA data processing needs.

Therefore, GAO made a number of proposals to aid VA in reducing its ADP resource requirements at the Austin Center. If accepted, these suggestions would permit VA to do no more than supplement the Austin configuration. GAO proposals included instituting changes which would reroute work to the Chicago DPC, eliminating marginally productive functions and on-line updates, and acquiring additional main memory or peripheral devices. The VA Office of Data Management and Telecommunications officials concurred with these proposals and agreed to cancel acquisition of a new multi-processor, consider implementation of the proposals made by GAO, and pursue a long-term solution for the Austin Center's situation. The VA requirements analysis for the Center showed that by late 1979 the work load would reach 160 percent of the system's theoretical capacity and that operation was already near saturation level. Despite the projected workload increases, full noncompetitive replacement of the Austin system was not necessary since the combined economies of the changes suggested by GAO would provide less costly solutions.

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