GAO Reports  
AIMD-96-64 September 30, 1996

Information Technology Investment: Agencies Can Improve
Performance, Reduce Costs, & Minimize Risks

The management of information technology projects has long been a significant problem for federal agencies. The government obligated more than $23.5 billion toward information technology products and services in fiscal year 1994--about five percent of the government's total discretionary spending. Yet the impact of this spending on agency operations and service delivery has been mixed at best. Federal computer systems often cost millions more than expected, take longer to complete than anticipated, and fail to significantly improve the speed and quality of federal programs--or reduce their cost. Some private and public sector organizations, however, have significantly improved performance by managing their information technology resources within an overall framework that aligns technology with business needs and priorities. This report compares the information technology investment management practices of leading organizations with those of five agencies--NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Coast Guard, and the Internal Revenue Service.

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