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Highlights

Information technology (IT) plays a critical role in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) ability to carry out its home ownership and community development mission, which was recently expanded under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Pursuant to a congressional mandate to study HUD's IT environment, GAO reviewed the adequacy of key IT management and modernization controls within the department, including strategic planning and performance measurement, investment management, human capital management, enterprise architecture development and use, and modernization program office establishment. To do so, GAO compared HUD policies, guidance, plans, reports, and other products and actions to relevant aspects of statutory requirements, federal guidance, and related best practices.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Housing and Urban Development 1. In order to ensure that HUD has an IT environment that effectively and efficiently supports its mission operations, the Secretary of HUD should ensure that recent and anticipated increases in IT resources be allocated to strengthening each of the IT management controls discussed in this report. To these ends, the Secretary should direct the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to develop a plan for developing and implementing the department's new performance management framework, including an implementation schedule of key activities and related resource needs, and to ensure that this plan provides for complying with the statutory requirement for annual reporting of progress in achieving IT strategic goals.
Closed - Implemented
HUD agreed with and took actions toward addressing our recommendation. In this regard, the department developed a new departmentwide strategic plan with associated goals in May 2010, using a newly established performance management framework and planning documents that included a schedule of key activities and related resource needs. In addition, HUD's Office of the Chief Information Officer outlined specific measures for achieving the goals contained within the new departmentwide strategic plan, such as reducing the number of burdensome regulations and reports. The actions taken should help HUD improve its ability to measure and report progress in achieving IT strategic goals.
Department of Housing and Urban Development 2. In order to ensure that HUD has an IT environment that effectively and efficiently supports its mission operations, the Secretary of HUD should ensure that recent and anticipated increases in IT resources be allocated to strengthening each of the IT management controls discussed in this report. To these ends, the Secretary should direct the Deputy Secretary, as the Technology Investment Board Executive Committee (TIBEC) chairperson, to develop and implement a plan to address the IT portfolio investment management weaknesses that we identified. This plan should address the following: (a) instituting policies and procedures for reviewing, evaluating, and improving the performance of the department's portfolio of investments; (b) establishing resources for reviewing the investment portfolio, including people, funding, and tools and ensuring board members are familiar with the process for evaluating and improving portfolio performance; (c) developing criteria for assessing portfolio performance and reviewing and modifying them at regular intervals to reflect current performance expectations; (d) defining and collecting IT portfolio performance measurement data consistent with the portfolio performance criteria; and (e) executing adjustments to the IT investment portfolio in response to actual portfolio performance.
Closed - Implemented
HUD agreed with and took actions that addressed this recommendation. Specifically, in January 2013, the department provided a plan for implementing practices to control the performance of its IT investment portfolio. The plan contained information that addressed key IT portfolio investment management weaknesses that we identified. For example, the plan addressed instituting policies and procedures for reviewing, evaluating, and improving the performance of the department's portfolio of investments as well as establishing resources for reviewing the investment portfolio. Additionally, the plan included activities for developing criteria to assess portfolio performance and for defining and collecting data consistent with the criteria.
Department of Housing and Urban Development 3. In order to ensure that HUD has an IT environment that effectively and efficiently supports its mission operations, the Secretary of HUD should ensure that recent and anticipated increases in IT resources be allocated to strengthening each of the IT management controls discussed in this report. To these ends, the Secretary should direct the CIO to establish and execute IT human capital gap closure strategies that are based on a complete and current inventory of its existing IT workforce skills.
Closed - Implemented
In 2011, we verified that HUD had made progress toward establishing and executing strategies to address IT workforce gaps. Specifically, in September 2011, the department completed an assessment of existing workforce skills, including a review of how IT resources support the goals in HUD's 2011-2015 strategic plan. In January 2013, the department finalized an IT human capital plan, which included strategies for closing gaps in its IT workforce.
Department of Housing and Urban Development 4. In order to ensure that HUD has an IT environment that effectively and efficiently supports its mission operations, the Secretary of HUD should ensure that recent and anticipated increases in IT resources be allocated to strengthening each of the IT management controls discussed in this report. To these ends, the Secretary should Direct the Deputy Secretary, as the TIBEC chairperson, to (a) report to the Secretary on actions planned to address our prior enterprise architecture (EA) recommendations on defining a security architecture and performing independent verification and validation, and (b) develop a plan for reexamining segment priorities and updating and developing segment architectures in accordance with these priorities and relevant guidance.
Closed - Implemented
HUD agreed with and took actions toward addressing our recommendation. In this regard, HUD reexamined the department's enterprise architecture segments, and subsequently, developed a plan to redefine the enterprise architecture segments in accordance with department priorities and relevant guidance. As a result of this action, HUD should be better positioned to more effectively develop segment architectures in accordance with department priorities.
Department of Housing and Urban Development 5. In order to ensure that HUD has an IT environment that effectively and efficiently supports its mission operations, the Secretary of HUD should ensure that recent and anticipated increases in IT resources be allocated to strengthening each of the IT management controls discussed in this report. To these ends, the Secretary should direct the CIO to direct the CIO to establish an enterprisewide program office with the responsibility and authority for managing the department's modernization efforts.
Closed - Implemented
HUD agreed with and took actions toward addressing our recommendation. In this regard, the department established an enterprise wide program office in 2010 with the responsibility and authority for managing the department's modernization efforts. For example, the program office was given responsibility for identifying and prioritizing modernization projects and authority to build project management competencies. As a result, HUD should be better positioned to more effectively deliver modernized systems.

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