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Business Systems Modernization: Results of Review of IRS' Customer Account Data Engine Project

GAO-01-717 Published: Jun 12, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 2001.
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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began the Customer Account Data Engine (CADE) project to modernize the agency's outdated and inefficient data management system. This report determines (1) the reported status of CADE and IRS' plans for completing the project, (2) whether IRS is managing the relationship between CADE and the agency's enterprise architecture and current systems environment, (3) whether IRS is managing CADE in accordance with its Enterprise Life Cycle (ELC), and (4) whether IRS is ensuring that CADE will satisfy agency business needs. GAO found that IRS was over budget and behind schedule in meeting CADE's next project milestone, which is the completion of the preliminary design. IRS was not effectively managing the relationship between CADE and the enterprise architecture or its current systems environment. IRS had not fully employed several critical management controls that are intended to ensure that CADE is aligned with ELC. IRS had completed or was in the process of completing steps to ensure that CADE will satisfy agency business needs.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Internal Revenue Service To ensure that IRS fully addresses the management weaknesses associated with the acquisition and implementation of CADE, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should expedite completion of a sufficiently defined version of the enterprise architecture of effectively guide and constrain CADE and other modernization projects.
Closed – Implemented
The IRS completed its architectural definition with EA version 2.0, which was released in March 2002.
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue should expedite implementation of other missing modernization management controls, including configuration management.
Closed – Implemented
In August 2001, IRS reported that it had implemented configuration management practices across the Business Systems Modernization (BSM) program. For example, it established a process for managing changes to project baselines whereby modifications require change requests, including analyses of cost, schedule, and functional impacts, to be developed and approved prior to changes being made. IRS also reported that it had established the projects' baseline configuration items, configuration units, costs, and schedules.
Internal Revenue Service The Commissioner of Internal Revenue that CADE approval to exit Milestone 3 should be conditioned upon IRS (1) having complete validated CADE design, (2) demonstrating through the use of mappings or traceability matrices that CADE's requirements and design align with a sufficiently defined version of the enterprise architecture, and (3) implementing effective configuration management control practices.
Closed – Implemented
In response to GAO's recommendations, the IRS's Commissioner delayed the Customer Account Data Engine's (CADE) Milestone 3 exit date and agreed to address GAO's findings. For example, the IRS completed CADE's design and senior CADE project officials conducted a design review with the Commissioner and other executives to validate the completed design. In addition, consistent with GAO's past recommendations, the IRS developed a process to ensure that the requirements and designs of CADE and the other projects are aligned with the enterprise architecture (EA) prior to beginning detailed design and development activities. Using this process, the IRS reported in June 2001, that it had mapped CADE to the EA and the result showed that the two were properly aligned. Consequently, on June 28, 2001, the Commissioner and his modernization executive steering committee approved the CADE project's request to exit Milestone 3.

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Customer serviceDatabase management systemsEnterprise architectureFinancial managementTaxpayersBusiness systems modernizationConfiguration controlTaxpayer dataInternal controlsProject milestones