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Automatic data processing (ADP) activities still present major management problems which have resulted, in part, from the lack of an appropriate organizational structure and procedures for managing ADP activities. Top management does not consider information systems as a corporate asset; thus, it does not devote enough attention to managing them as a discrete entity. There is a need for more centralized organization of ADP activities. Agency ADP systems were designed to accomplish specific tasks in support of an individual group's management responsibilities. This did little to minimize duplication among databases or to ensure that applications were adaptable to the needs of multiple users. Federal agencies are clearly obligated to manage ADP resources efficiently.
Effective ADP planning depends on how an agency organizes to accomplish the planning function and how it assigns the responsibilities for planning. A strong central office is needed for such planning. It will function best if it has top managment involvement and commitment. A good ADP plan will contain a clear statement of short- and long-term ADP objectives; a concise, well-documented statement of existing and future requirements for computer support; and a sound, management-endorsed strategy for achieving the agency's ADP objectives. Without management controls, an agency could not effectively allocate its ADP resources among the many competing ADP activities of its independent components. Three basic management controls to be applied are a project authorization process, a standard approach to managing the project, and a uniform financial and estimating system.