Inadequacies in Data Processing Planning in the Department of Commerce

FGMSD-78-27: Published: May 1, 1978. Publicly Released: May 1, 1978.

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The Department of Commerce uses more than 300 computer systems for its various programs. In 1977, it spent over $100 million on such systems. The Department could achieve significant savings by improving the management of its planning processes for acquiring and using automated data processing (ADP) resources.

Savings could be attained through consolidation of existing facilities which perform similar functions, by standardization of comparable systems, and by modernizing the systems so that competitive procurements could be made. In 1974, an attempt was made to develop long-range data processing plans, increase compatability of software and hardware, and provide better arrangements for managing and operating computer facilities. These procedures have not eliminated many of the problems because: the central management office did not have sufficient resources or authority, top management was not sufficiently involved, and there was no formal Department-wide plan for coordinating data processing activities.

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