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Information Technology: Opportunities for Improving Acquisitions and Operations

GAO-17-251SP Published: Apr 11, 2017. Publicly Released: Apr 11, 2017.
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What the Participants Said

Forum participants discussed the challenges and opportunities for Chief Information Officers (CIO) to improve information technology (IT) acquisitions and operations--with the goal of better informing policymakers and government leadership. They identified key actions related to the following topics: strengthening the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), improving CIO authorities, budget formulation, governance, workforce, operations, and transition planning.


Why GAO Convened This Forum

IT expenditures too often have produced failed projects--that is, projects with multimillion dollar cost overruns and schedule delays measured in years, with questionable mission-related achievements and duplicative and inefficient operational systems. In December 2014, IT reform legislation was enacted which requires agencies to address key IT issue areas. To help address these ongoing challenges, GAO recently added improving the management of IT acquisitions and operations to its list of high-risk areas for the federal government.

While GAO has made over 800 recommendations aimed at improving IT acquisitions and operations outcomes, slightly less than half of these recommendations have been fully implemented. In light of this, GAO assembled a panel of IT experts on September 14, 2016 to elicit additional ideas to further improve delivery and operations of IT.

The viewpoints summarized in the report do not necessarily represent the views of all participants, their organizations, or GAO. GAO provided participants the opportunity to review a summary of key points from the forum and incorporated their comments as appropriate prior to publishing this report.

For more information, contact David A. Powner at (202) 512-9286 or

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BudgetsChief information officersCybersecurityExecutive agenciesFederal agenciesFederal agency leadershipFederal procurementIT acquisitionsIT personnelInformation technologyLegacy systemsPrioritizingProcurement practicesStrategic planningIT governance