ADP Acquisitions:

SSA Should Limit ADP Procurements Until Further Testing Is Performed

IMTEC-86-31: Published: Aug 8, 1986. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Systems Modernization Plan to determine whether SSA fully justified ongoing and planned computer hardware procurements totalling $343 million and whether the procurements will meet SSA requirements.

GAO found that: (1) the ongoing and planned procurements for the plan were not justified because it was unclear what needs the procurements would address, what potential mission benefits would result from the acquisitions, and whether SSA had adequately analyzed alternatives; and (2) the tests SSA conducted to validate the software will not provide an overall and thorough measure of the system's projected performance. GAO believes that SSA: (1) should limit the procurements to only the equipment needed to test the total planned hardware configuration in conjunction with the major software components currently under development; and (2) not procure the full complement of equipment unless and until it conducts an evaluation of the total system over a period long enough to obtain stable and complete results, and reviews those results prior to committing to procurements for full system deployment.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure that valid SSA computer needs are met without making unnecessary expenditures, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to limit future contractual commitments of funds until SSA assesses, justifies, and documents projected automatic data processing requirements, alternatives to meeting the requirements, and the associated benefits to the SSA mission, which should result in a clarification of SSA equipment needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The procurement in question has been completed.

    Recommendation: To ensure that valid SSA computer needs are met without making unnecessary expenditures, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to limit the acquisition strategy for the terminals, data network and host computers to support only the full installation of equipment at the 20 offices designated as pilots by SSA. The pilots should provide SSA the opportunity to more adequately assess its needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The procurement in question has been completed.

    Recommendation: To ensure that valid SSA computer needs are met without making unnecessary expenditures, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to replace the existing terminals and network in the remaining field offices once the testing of equipment reliability is complete. This approach should result in substantial lease cost savings and put in place a standard, industry-supported network that can be easily expanded.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The procurement in question has been completed.

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