The GAO reviewed the Department of the Treasury's and its bureaus' use of computer resources in achieving their missions. The objectives of the review were to: (1) evaluate how effectively these resources are managed by Treasury and its bureaus; (2) determine if they could be better used; and (3) recommend improvements where needed.
The GAO found that Treasury has lacked an effective means of implementing policies and procedures for managing computer resources. Congressional concern over a similar lack of top management oversight of information resources in other Government agencies has resulted in the recent passage of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. This Act, particularly its provision for designating a senior official to report directly to the head of the agency and to be responsible for carrying out the Act within the agency, can substantially improve the management of computers and other information-related activities if properly implemented.
Many Treasury bureaus have not established a formalized, coordinated system for forecasting automatic data processing needs sufficiently to allow for the orderly acquisition of computer resources to satisfy these requirements. The absence of top management and user involvement and participation in formulating long-range computer growth strategy has resulted in Treasury bureaus having either too much or too little computer capacity, excessive costs of operations, and unmet user needs.
Although some Treasury bureaus have done limited testing and measuring of equipment utilization and in some cases have evaluated performance, these efforts are only part of an effective performance management program. Other critical elements, such as establishing standards and goals, periodically assessing products, and optimizing software efficiency, have been lacking.