Data Center Optimization:

Agencies Need to Complete Plans to Address Inconsistencies in Reported Savings

GAO-17-388: Published: May 18, 2017. Publicly Released: May 18, 2017.

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What GAO Found

The 24 agencies participating in the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) have made progress on their data center closure efforts. As of August 2016, the agencies collectively had identified a total of 9,995 data centers, of which they reported having closed 4,388 and having plans to close a total of 5,597 through fiscal year 2019. The Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Treasury accounted for 84 percent of the completed closures.

In addition, 18 of the 24 agencies reported achieving about $2.3 billion collectively in cost savings and avoidances from their data center consolidation and optimization efforts from fiscal year 2012 through August 2016. The Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, and Treasury accounted for approximately $2.0 billion (or 87 percent) of the total. Further, 23 agencies reported about $656 million collectively in planned savings for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. This is about $3.3 billion less than the estimated $4.0 billion in planned savings for fiscal years 2016 through 2018 that agencies reported to GAO in November 2015. (See figure.)

Comparison of Fiscal Years 2016-2018 Planned Cost Savings and Avoidances Reported to GAO in November 2015 to Publicly Available Agency DCOI Strategic Plans in April 2017

Comparison of Fiscal Years 2016-2018 Planned Cost Savings and Avoidances Reported to GAO in November 2015 to Publicly Available Agency DCOI Strategic Plans in April 2017

This reduction in planned savings is the result of eight agencies reporting less in planned cost savings and avoidances in their annual DCOI strategic plans, which are required by December 2014 information technology (IT) acquisition reform legislation, as compared to the savings these agencies previously reported to GAO in November 2015. The reduction also does not include cost savings information for one agency that had not submitted its strategic plan in time for our review. GAO has previously recommended that agencies fully report these savings.

Additionally, as of April 2017, 23 of the 24 agencies had submitted a strategic plan. Of the 23 plans, only 7 included all required information. The remaining plans either partially met or did not meet the requirements. Until agencies submit plans that address all required elements, they may be challenged in implementing the data center consolidation and optimization provisions of the legislation. GAO also identified inconsistencies in how 11 agencies reported historical cost savings in their DCOI strategic plans, as compared to a separate required quarterly report to OMB. These inconsistencies, due in part to weaknesses in OMB's oversight of agencies' savings information and their DCOI strategic plan, resulted in a reporting discrepancy of approximately $1.5 billion between the two sources. Until OMB improves its oversight of agencies' reporting of cost savings, and until agencies address inconsistencies in their reporting, the likelihood of further reporting errors is increased.

Why GAO Did This Study

In December 2014, IT acquisition reform legislation was enacted that included a series of provisions related to ongoing federal data center consolidation efforts. The legislation required covered agencies to develop data center consolidation strategic plans and report cost savings to OMB. It also included a provision for GAO to annually review agencies' data center inventories and strategies. OMB's Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) subsequently launched DCOI to build on prior data center consolidation efforts and improve federal data centers' performance.

GAO reviewed agencies' data center closure plans and consolidation savings progress and plans; and evaluated the extent to which agencies' annual consolidation strategic plans are complete. To do so, GAO assessed DCOI agencies' data center inventories, reviewed agencies' reported cost savings documentation, and evaluated their data center optimization strategic plans. GAO also updated its assessments in April 2017 in response to agency comments on its draft report.

What GAO Recommends

GAO is recommending that OMB ensure that agencies complete their DCOI strategic plans and report achieved data center cost savings consistently across all reporting mechanisms. GAO is also recommending that 17 agencies complete their DCOI strategic plans and that 11 agencies ensure the amounts of achieved cost savings are consistent across reporting mechanisms. Twelve agencies agreed with GAO's recommendations, 2 disagreed, and 11 did not state whether they agreed or disagreed, as discussed in the report.

For more information, contact David Powner at (202) 512-9286 or pownerd@gao.gov.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation. According to a staff member within the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer, OMB provides feedback to agencies on the completeness of the agencies' Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plans. However, several agencies such as the Departments of Commerce and State still have weaknesses in their DCOI strategic plans, such as not including actual savings achieved for fiscal year 2017. We will continue to monitor OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO to provide the necessary oversight to ensure that each agency completes their DCOI strategic plan in accordance with OMB's guidance implementing Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform provisions (FITARA).

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has taken initial steps to implement our recommendation. According to a staff member within the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer, OMB provides feedback to agencies on the consistency of agencies' reporting of data center-related cost savings across various reporting mechanisms, such as the quarterly reporting of cost savings to OMB and the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plans. However, several agencies such as the Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services still have inconsistencies in reporting cost savings among those two mechanisms. We will continue to monitor OMB's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal data center optimization efforts improve governmental efficiency and achieve cost savings, the Director of OMB should direct the Federal CIO to provide the necessary oversight to ensure that agency reporting of achieved data center consolidation and optimization cost savings and avoidances is consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including quarterly data submissions and agency DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to address it. Specifically, as of June 2018, the department's DCOI strategic plan included planned savings figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018 and identified challenges pertaining to the cost of closures and costs of optimization. However, the plan did not include achieved figures for fiscal year 2017 closures and cost savings. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense agreed with our recommendation and has taken action to address it. Specifically, we reviewed the updated Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan that was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget and, as of June 2018, found that the department included planned and achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018 optimization performance, data center closures, and cost savings, thereby addressing the weaknesses we found. The department also identified challenges pertaining to the cost of closures and costs of optimization. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Energy agreed with our recommendation and has taken actions to address it. Specifically, we reviewed the department's updated Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan and, as of June 2018, found that the department included planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. Additionally, the department identified challenges pertaining to the cost of closures and costs of optimization. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. We reviewed HHS' updated Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan as of April 2018 and found that the department included planned and achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018, thereby addressing the weaknesses we found. The department identified challenges pertaining to the cost of closures and costs of optimization. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Social Security Administration (SSA) agreed with our recommendation and described planned actions to address it. Specifically, the agency noted that it will continue to economize and evolve its data center optimization management and will continue to encourage open dialog and information exchange between agencies to achieve efficiencies and enhanced data center operations government-wide. Subsequently, we reviewed SSA's updated strategic plan as of July 2018 and found that the agency included planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The department has also listed the achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2017. Additionally, SSA identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. By identifying and reporting this information, the agency is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Social Security Administration

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Interior agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. As of June 2018, the department's updated Data Center Optimization Initiative plan included planned and achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018, thereby addressing the weaknesses we found. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Justice agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. As of June 2018, the department's updated Data Center Optimization Initiative strategic plan included planned and achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018, thereby addressing the weaknesses we found. Additionally, the department identified challenges pertaining to the cost of closures and costs of optimization. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Transportation agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. We reviewed the department's updated DCOI strategic plan as of June 2018 and found that the department recorded planned and achieved savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. Additionally, the Department of Transportation identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. The department also included an estimation of approximately $11.2 million cost in closures through FY 2018. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. As of June 2018, the department's updated Data Center Optimization Initiative strategic plan included planned and achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018, thereby addressing the weaknesses we found. Additionally, the department identified challenges pertaining to calculating performance against the automated monitoring metric for its non-tiered data centers. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. We reviewed the department's updated DCOI strategic plan as of April 2018 and found that the department recorded planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The department has also listed the achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2017. Additionally, the department identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Veterans Affairs agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. We reviewed the updated DCOI strategic plan as of April 2018 and found that the department recorded planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The department has also listed the achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2017. Additionally, the department identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

  14. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed with our recommendation and described planned actions to address it. Subsequently, we reviewed the updated DCOI strategic plan as of June 2018 and found that the department included planned and achieved figures for its optimization performance and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018, and planned figures for its cost savings, but had yet to list the achieved cost savings figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. Additionally, the department identified challenges pertaining to funding for optimization efforts. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  15. Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet taken steps to implement our recommendation. As of June 2018, EPA has not updated its Data Center Optimization Strategic Plan to include achieved closures or cost savings and avoidances for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. We reviewed the updated DCOI strategic plan as of April 2018 and found that the department recorded planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The department has also listed the achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2017. Additionally, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) agreed with our recommendation and described planned actions to address it. Subsequently, we reviewed SBA's updated DCOI strategic plan as of April 2018 and found that the agency included planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018, but did not include the achieved figures for FY 2017. Additionally, SBA identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. By identifying and reporting this information, the agency is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has taken actions to address our recommendation. We reviewed the updated DCOI strategic plan as of April 2018 and found that the department recorded planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The department has also listed the achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2017. Additionally, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values, thereby addressing the weakness we identified in our 2017 report. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has taken action to address our recommendation. Specifically, we reviewed USAID's updated DCOI strategic plan as of June 2018 and found that the agency recorded planned savings figures, optimization metrics, and closures for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. The agency has also listed the achieved figures for fiscal years 2016 through 2017. Additionally, USAID identified challenges and explanations for unmet planned values. By identifying and reporting this information, the agency is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: The following 17 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; and the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Small Business Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development; the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration) should each take action to complete the missing elements in their respective DCOI strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges, and submit their completed strategic plan to OMB.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  20. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Education acknowledged that the department had not included historical cost savings and avoidance information in its Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan, as required, and has taken action to address our recommendation. Specifically, the department has updated both its data center optimization initiative (DCOI) strategic plan and its quarterly cost savings report to include consistent savings figures. For example, both documents report $308,000 as fiscal year 2016 achieved savings. In addition, the DCOI strategic plan indicates Education planned to achieve $527,000 in cost savings in 2017. In February 2018, the department reported that it had achieved that amount for fiscal year 2017 savings. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  21. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce (Commerce) agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to address it. Specifically, Commerce has continued to report amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances. In June 2018, we reviewed the department's May 2018 quarterly report of cost savings and the Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan posted to its digital strategy web site. However, we found that although the department reported fiscal year 2017 savings in its quarterly cost savings report, it did not do so in its DCOI strategic plan. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address the recommendation.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  22. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken initial steps to address our recommendation. Specifically, HHS has continued to report the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances. However, after reviewing the department's May 2018 quarterly report of cost savings and Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plans we have noted that savings figures still do not agree. For example, as of June 2018, the DCOI strategic plan reported historical savings of $94.96 million for fiscal years 2012 through 2015, while the May 2018 cost savings report identified $98.4 million for the same period. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address the recommendation.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  23. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Interior agreed with our recommendation and has taken steps to address it. As of June 2018, the department has updated both its Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan and its quarterly cost savings report to include consistent savings figures. For example, both documents report $5.8 million as fiscal year 2017 achieved savings. In addition, both documents identify approximately $2.52 million in historical savings for fiscal year 2014 By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  24. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Transportation has taken action to address our recommendation. Specifically, in September 2018, department officials provided a copy of the department's updated Data Center Optimization Initiative strategic plan that reports about $13.3 million in achieved data center-related savings for 2016. In addition, the officials provided a copy of the department's August 2018 quarterly cost savings report to the Office of Management and Budget, which reported about $13.3 million in data center savings for the same year. Further, both documents identify approximately $23.5 million in historical savings for fiscal years 2012 through 2015. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  25. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Labor has taken action to address our recommendation. As of June 2018, the department has updated both its Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan and its quarterly cost savings report to include consistent savings figures. For example, both documents report $4.84 million as fiscal year 2016 achieved savings. In addition, both documents identify approximately $20 million in historical savings for fiscal years 2012 through 2017. By identifying and reporting this information, the department is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  26. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of the Treasury has not yet taken action to address our recommendation. As of June 2018, the department reports nearly $50 million in achieved savings for 2016 in its updated Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan, but only $17 million in its quarterly cost savings report to the Office of Management and Budget for the same year. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Treasury

  27. Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State agreed with our recommendation and described planned actions to address it. Specifically, the department described plans to acquire, subject to funding availability, automated monitoring tools for its enterprise data centers. It also described plans to engage OMB to rebaseline the closure target for its non-tiered data centers located outside the United States, based on the department's mission needs. In addition, the department noted that it is in the process of identifying the number of server rooms in the United States that meet the DCOI definition of a data center and expects to provide an update after the 3rd quarter of calendar year 2018. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address our recommendation.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of State

  28. Status: Open

    Comments: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet taken any action to implement our recommendation. As of June 2018, EPA has not updated its Data Center Optimization Initiative Strategic Plan or quarterly data reports to include achieved cost savings and avoidances for fiscal years 2016 through 2018. In addition, while the quarterly data reports have listed historical cost savings for fiscal years 2012-2015, these savings are not listed in the Data Center Optimization Initiative Strategic Plan. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the agency's progress in implementing this recommendation.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  29. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The General Services Administration agreed with, and has taken actions to address, our recommendation. Specifically, the agency stated that it planned to complete the missing elements in its Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan, including addressing any identified challenges and ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances were consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly integrated data collection submissions and DCOI strategic plans. As of June 2017, the agency had consistently reported historical cost savings of $17.78 million for fiscal years 2012 through 2015 and achieved savings of $16.73 million in both its most recent integrated data collection (May 2017) and the current version of its DCOI strategic plan. By ensuring the agency reports savings consistently across all reporting mechanisms, the Office of Management and Budget has greater assurance that cost savings are being fully reported to enable more effective oversight.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  30. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The U.S. Agency for International Development has taken action to address our recommendation. As of June 2018, the agency has updated both its Data Center Optimization Initiative (DCOI) strategic plan and its quarterly cost savings report to include consistent savings figures. For example, both documents report $2.51 million as fiscal year 2016 achieved savings. In addition, both documents identify approximately $9.42 million in historical savings for fiscal years 2012 through 2015. By identifying and reporting this information, the agency is better positioned to measure and evaluate progress in achieving data center related cost savings and avoidances.

    Recommendation: Finally, the following 11 agencies (the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development) should also each take action to ensure that the amounts of achieved data center cost savings and avoidances are consistent across all reporting mechanisms, including the quarterly data submissions and DCOI strategic plans.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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