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Open Recommendations

Data Center Optimization: Agencies Report Progress and Billions Saved, but OMB Needs to Improve Its Utilization Guidance

GAO-21-212
Mar 04, 2021
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should reexamine its DCOI guidance regarding how to measure server utilization and revise it to better and more consistently address server efficiency. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Information Technology: Selected Federal Agencies Need to Take Additional Actions to Reduce Contract Duplication

GAO-20-567
Sep 30, 2020
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19 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency fully implements the category management activity to reduce unaligned IT spending, by performing an analysis of alternatives to justify the agency's unaligned IT contracts. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency fully implements the category management activity to develop and implement vendor management strategies, by implementing the strategies it had developed. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency fully implements the category management activity to share prices paid, terms, and conditions for purchased IT goods and services. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency finishes implementing its process to analyze IT contract data. (Recommendation 4)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency develops and implements strategies to address duplication identified through the use of spend analyses. (Recommendation 5)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the agency fully implements the category management activity to reduce unaligned IT spending. (Recommendation 6)
Open
The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with the recommendation. In December 2020, DOD officials reported that the department has taken steps to reduce unaligned IT spending. For example, the officials stated that, in November 2020, the department established a Category Management Governance Working group to focus on governance, including category management policy and enterprise buying. In addition, the officials stated that the Chief Information Officer issued guidance on IT category management hardware purchasing solutions, and plans to issue additional guidance on IT category management in June 2021. However, DOD has not yet provided documentation showing that the department has reduced unaligned IT spending. We will continue to monitor the department's efforts to address our recommendation.

Medicaid Information Technology: Effective CMS Oversight and States' Sharing of Claims Processing and Information Retrieval Systems Can Reduce Costs

GAO-20-179
Sep 09, 2020
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8 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services The Administrator of CMS should, as part of the APD review process and prior to approval, verify that all of the required information (e.g. alternatives analysis, feasibility study, and cost benefit analysis) is included in the funding request. (Recommendation 2)
Open
As of March 2021, GAO verified that CMS developed standard operating procedures that, as part of the APD review process and prior to approval, required reviewers to verify that certain required information, such as an alternative analysis, was included in the funding request. However, the standard operating procedures did not require CMS to verify that all of the required information, such as the feasibility study and cost benefit analysis, was reviewed and included in the funding request prior to APD approval. GAO will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services The Administrator of CMS should ensure that all APD-related artifacts are retained within the designated CMS document management system, including documentation of key information from meetings and email communications with the states, the MITA self-assessment and independent verification and validation reports, when creating APD decision packages. (Recommendation 3)
Open
As of March 2021, GAO verified that CMS developed standard operating procedures that required reviewers to store all APD-related artifacts within its designated CMS document management system, the unified SharePoint-based workflow. However, the procedures did not include steps that detailed how they would ensure all documents were retained within the system. GAO will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services The Administrator of CMS should require analysts to maintain relevant MMIS and E&E system artifacts based on the entire system life cycle instead of individual APDs. (Recommendation 4)
Open
As of March 2021, GAO verified that CMS developed standard operating procedures that required reviewers to maintain all APD-related artifacts within its document management system. However, CMS did not provide evidence regarding how the reviewers are to maintain relevant MMIS and E&E system artifacts based on the entire system life cycle within the document management system. GAO will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services The Administrator of CMS should, in consultation with the HHS and CMS CIOs, develop a documented, comprehensive, and risk-based process for how CMS will select IT projects for technical assistance and provide recommendations to states to assist them in improving the performance of the systems, with consideration to those that are high-cost and performing poorly. (Recommendation 5)
Open
According to HHS officials, as of March 2021 CMS was in the process of developing a standard approach to assess and visualize the health of states Medicaid Enterprise System projects. The officials added that this standard approach will enable the agency to make more consistent and better informed decisions about when and where to direct technical assistance and future investments to realize measurable improvement for Medicaid beneficiaries, providers, and administrators. Further, according to HHS officials, CMS in the process of updating its draft regulation, which is currently on hold due to the pandemic and transition of administrations. HHS officials also stated that they plan to prepare recommendations for the new CMS leadership and expect to release new guidance on subjects, such as testing, improving outcomes, and system reuse later in 2021. GAO will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services The Administrator of CMS should encourage state Medicaid program officials to consider involving state CIOs in overseeing Medicaid IT projects. (Recommendation 6)
Open
In March 2021, CMS officials stated that as part of their APD approval process, the agency works with states to ensure that they have the appropriate technology leadership and business sponsorship in place for their significant IT development efforts. However, the CMS officials did not state how they would implement the recommendation to encourage states to involve state CIOs in overseeing Medicaid IT projects. GAO will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services The Administrator of CMS should establish a timeline for implementing the outcome-based certification process for MMIS and E&E systems. (Recommendation 7)
Open
As of March 2021, according to HHS officials, CMS expects to release sub-regulatory guidance on the streamlined outcome-based certification process for MMIS and E&E systems and systems testing in mid- to late 2021. GAO will continue to monitor the implementation of this recommendation.

Social Security Contracting: Relevant Guidance Should Be Revised to Reflect the Role of Contracting Personnel in Software Development

GAO-20-627
Aug 31, 2020
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Social Security Administration The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should ensure the Office of Acquisition and Grants, in consultation with the Chief Information Officer, revises relevant guidance to identify the role of contracting officials in the Agile software development process.
Open
The Social Security Administration agreed with the recommendation but has not yet taken actions to implement it.
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