VBA studies upgrade costs

VBA studies upgrade costs

Information technology's role at the Veterans Benefits Administration is to support the agency's goals in an era of massive downsizing and increasing workload, VBA's chief information officer said this month.

Although the number of benefits claims cases filed by the nation's veterans is decreasing, the claims are increasing in complexity, Adair Martinez said at the GCN Forum luncheon in Washington.

The agency spends $1 million to $2 million yearly on technology and has an IT staff of about 500 workers at five locations throughout the country, she said.

Martinez, who took charge of the VBA systems shop in December, said she wants to team with industry to upgrade the agency's outdated technology. VBA needs to rid itself of stovepipe systems that require redundant entries of data, she said.

VBA is researching the total cost of an equipment replacement, she said. Agency officials must realize that the cost of technology is more than just the purchase price of software or hardware; it includes operation, upkeep and training, she said.

'Susan M. Menke and Tony Lee Orr

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