Government // Leadership
News
8/5/2009
03:13 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Report Finds HUD's IT Systems Severely Lacking

Outdated, redundant IT systems and paper-based processes are among the problems identified by the Government Accountability Office.

About half of the work needed to meet the Department of Housing and Urban Development's IT goals is stalled or behind schedule, many of its systems are outdated or duplicative, and the department lacks IT management controls, limiting its ability to help pull the country out of recession, the Government Accountability Office has found.

"HUD's ability to effectively and efficiently perform mission-critical operations, including those integral to our nation's economic recovery and reinvestment activities, is constrained by its current IT environment," the GAO wrote in a new report. "To overcome these limitations and maximize IT support to HUD programs, such as those that involve home mortgages and provide rental assistance, it is essential for the department to have the capability and capacity to manage both its existing IT environment and its ongoing and future IT modernization efforts."

HUD's problems start with its IT infrastructure. The agency has multiple grants management systems that can't share data, still renews about $7 billion in low-income grants using an inefficient paper-based system, maintains at least 16 financial management systems, and has IT systems that are, on average, 15 years old. Historically, only a small percentage of IT spending has been set aside for new development, including 2% in 2008.

The agency's been trying to change this, but the GAO found that poor IT management controls will likely continue to hold it back from meeting strategic goals such as modernizing its IT infrastructure and developing its IT workforce. HUD didn't assess its performance against those goals in 2008, as required by government regulations, nor did it make clear the basis of its assessment a year earlier. The GAO found that HUD has incomplete IT architecture guidance, relied on outdated information to assess its workforce, and has yet to create a program management office to handle IT modernization.

In working with GAO, HUD officials said the agency was working to resolve the issues identified in the report, blaming the situation on a revolving door of IT leadership and limited resources. In a letter to GAO, HUD deputy CIO Lynn Allen said HUD would "dedicate resources toward achieving" GAO's recommendations for overhauling its IT processes and provide a timeline for doing so soon.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 gives HUD $25 million annually through 2013 to modernize its IT systems and do other work, while the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act adds $59.5 million to that. Increases in IT funding as part of HUD's "Transformation Initiative" could provide as much as $217 million more in the agency's 2010 budget.


There's a big buzz surrounding Government 2.0 -- the revolution that's bringing the principles and value of the Web as a platform to the business of governing. Attend Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase and hear innovators show how this is really happening. At the Washington Convention Center, Sept. 8. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.