Year 2000 Computing Challenge:

Status of the District of Columbia's Efforts to Renovate Systems and Develop Contingency and Continuity Plans

T-AIMD-99-297: Published: Sep 24, 1999. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the District of Columbia's efforts to address the year 2000 challenge, focusing on the: (1) District's progress in fixing its systems and the remaining risks it faces; (2) actions it needs to take to mitigate these risks over the next 3 months; and (3) recent experience it needs to capitalize on to strengthen long-term information technology management.

GAO noted that: (1) since February 1999, the District has taken actions to strengthen its year 2000 project management and continuity and contingency planning; (2) as of September 20, the District's Chief Technology Officer reported the status of the District's year 2000 conversion effort for its mission-critical software applications; (3) of a total of 223 mission-critical applications, 130 were tested and determined to be ready for the year 2000; (4) of the remaining 93 mission-critical applications, 70 were reported as undergoing testing and 23 were reported as still being remediated; (5) it should be noted, however, that the status information being reported by the Chief Technology Officer is not consistent with information being reported separately by District agencies; (6) this raises the concern that District managers are not getting accurate enough data on system status on which to base their year 2000-related decisions; (7) District officials told GAO that they are in the process of reconciling these data differences; (8) at this point in time, the District can do little to increase the rate of progress on system remediation and testing; (9) however, the District can improve its chances for success by better using the tools it has at hand; (10) by more aggressively monitoring the status of key projects and ensuring that its status information is accurate, District management can be better-equipped to focus attention on projects running late and redirect resources, if necessary, to ensure that most critical processes are remediated and tested on time; (11) also, viable business continuity plans are important to all organizations--even those who have already completed remediation and testing; (12) they are especially critical to the District because of the real possibility that remediation and testing may not be complete by year's end; (13) the reason the District is so far behind in addressing the year 2000 problem is that it did not have effective management over its information technology assets and projects; (14) as a result, it started very late and will finish late; and (15) by capitalizing on recent year 2000-experience, the District can implement management processes and controls needed to ensure that its technology assets are effectively supporting city operations.

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