Assessing Risks and Returns_ A Guide for Evaluating Federal Agencies' IT Investment Decision-making

U.S. Government Accountability Office
Despite huge federal investments in information technology (IT), many government programs are still hampered by inaccurate data and inadequate systems. Too often, federal IT projects have cost too much, produced too little, and failed to significantly boost performance. Yet general agreement exists that the government can improve its performance through the integration of IT into basic business and mission needs. Outdated computer systems must be replaced; inefficient, paper-oriented processes must be automated; accurate financial data must be developed and maintained; and an ever-increasing amount of information must be stored and managed. This guide is intended to help evaluate how well federal agencies are selecting and managing their IT resources and to identify areas in which improvements are needed. The guide focuses on assessing an organization from three levels: (1) the process that an organization is using to select, manage, and evaluate its IT investments; (2) the data that are being used to make IT decisions; and (3) the IT decisions that are being made using the defined processes and data.
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