Since 1990, GAO has designated the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) contract management as an area of high risk in part because it lacked modern systems to provide accurate and reliable information on contract spending. In April 2000, NASA began a system modernization effort, known as the Integrated Enterprise Management Program (IEMP). When GAO last reported on the status of IEMP in September 2005, NASA had begun to implement disciplined processes needed to manage IEMP, but had yet to implement other best practices such as adopting business processes that improve information on contract spending. This GAO report addresses (1) actions taken by NASA to effectively implement the disciplined processes needed to manage IEMP and (2) the extent to which NASA has considered the strategic issues associated with developing a concept of operations and defining standard business processes. GAO interviewed NASA officials and obtained and analyzed documentation relevant to the issues.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||To help ensure that disciplined processes are effectively implemented for future IEMP modules, upgrades, or other business systems, the NASA Administrator should direct the IEMP Program Director to establish requirements development policies and procedures regarding (1) how customer needs will be elicited, developed, and validated; (2) how to identify and ensure the involvement of relevant stakeholders; and (3) required training in such topics as requirements definition and analysis to be provided to people involved in the requirements process.|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||To help ensure that disciplined processes are effectively implemented for future IEMP modules, upgrades, or other business systems, the NASA Administrator should direct the IEMP Program Director to develop policies and procedures that require project schedules to include the identification and documentation of dependencies among various project tasks.|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||To help ensure that future IEMP projects are designed to carry out NASA's mission in an efficient manner that meets the needs of all users, the NASA Administrator should establish as a high priority the completion of a concept of operations that addresses NASA's business operations for both its mission offices and administrative offices (such as financial management and human capital) before any new implementation efforts begin.|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||Once the concept of operations is complete, the NASA Administrator should review the functionality of previously implemented IEMP modules for the purpose of determining whether enhancements or modifications are needed to bring them into compliance with the concept of operations.|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||To help ensure that NASA receives the maximum benefit from its reported $800 million investment in IEMP, the NASA Administrator should establish policies and procedures requiring approval to establish or maintain business processes that are inconsistent with the processes inherent in the commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions selected for IEMP. The reasons for any decisions made to not implement the inherent COTS processes should be well-documented and approved by the Administrator or his designee. At a minimum, approved documentation should address any decisions to maintain current contractor cost reporting processes rather than revise these processes to facilitate the use of one consistent source of cost data.|