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Information Technology: Critical Factors Underlying Successful Major Acquisitions

GAO-12-7 Published: Oct 21, 2011. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2011.
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Planned federal information technology (IT) spending has now risen to at least $81 billion for fiscal year 2012. As GAO has previously reported, although a variety of best practices exists to guide their successful acquisition, federal IT projects too frequently incur cost overruns and schedule slippages while contributing little to mission-related outcomes. Recognizing these problems, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has launched several initiatives to improve the oversight and management of IT investments. GAO was asked to identify (1) federal IT investments that were or are being successfully acquired and (2) the critical factors that led to the successful acquisition of these investments. To do this, GAO interviewed agency officials from selected federal departments responsible for each investment. In commenting on a draft of GAO's report, three departments generally agreed with the report. OMB and the other departments either provided minor technical comments, or stated that they had no comments at all.

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Contractor personnelCost analysisCost controlCost overrunsFunds managementInformation technologyInvestment planningInvestmentsIT acquisitionsIT investment managementKnowledge, skills and abilitiesPrime contractorsPrioritizingProcurementProcurement planningProcurement practicesProgram managementRequirements definitionSchedule slippagesUse of fundsFederal fundsProductivity in governmentFederal agenciesSystems testingPurchases prioritizingStakeholder consultations