Citation Edit

General Accounting Office, The Use of Obsolescent Computers Involves Unnecessary Costs and Problems (115900) (July 23, 1981) (full-text).

Overview Edit

Implementing modern computer technology can help the Government achieve the objectives of reducing the size and cost of Government and improving productivity. The GAO undertook a study to determine if the Federal computer inventory is outmoded. how this situation arose. and how to prevent it from recurring. It was found that over half of the medium- and large-scale [[computers used by the Government are of 1971 vintage or earlier technology. The obsolescence problem exists because agency managers have failed to identify all of the costs and problems associated with using outmoded equipment. They are overlooking high operating expenditures, extraordinary maintenance expenses, excessive energy consumption, and the costs of supplemental services.

Personnel costs, floor space costs, and those expenditures attributable to system availability should be reviewed periodically to see if they are reasonable. The effect on capital items should be considered. The replacement of obsolescent equipment by modern gear can reduce these costs. Older unreliable systems can significantly lower operational availability time by breaking down more frequently, requiring longer maintenance periods, and not being capable of operating in a [[degraded mode. Users of older equipment may have to obtain additional capacity as backup when their equipment fails, or use outside time-sharing services.

Modern computers are significantly more reliable than older models. Computer system availability has been improved, processing capabilities have been expanded, and new equipment is more compatible with new accessory supporting equipment. Top agency management has not provided the oversight and direction to assure that total operating costs are identified and assessed in managing Federal automatic data processing resources. Policy and guidance for replacing older equipment has not been issued. Agencies should be allowed to update their equipment without upgrading their capacity. If systems are outmoded. agencies should move to replace them.

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