GSA to scrap Preferred IT program

The General Services Administration will shut down its embattled GSA Preferred IT tracking system after independent and internal audits of the program found it did not perform at the same level as the system it replaced.

In its place, GSA will return to the legacy system while it determines how to move forward, the agency said.

'GSA has begun a 'migration' process to ensure that the data utilized [in] GSA-P is accurately transferred to the current systems,' the agency said in a fact sheet. 'While an orderly and time-consuming preservation of vital information is required, GSA anticipates that this process will be complete by the end of 2006.'

GSA-P will remain in 'operational mode' until all the data is transferred, the agency said.

GSA-P was supposed to give agencies that buy goods and services through GSA's Federal Technology Service a better view of how they spend their money on technology products. In particular, the system was supposed to help agencies keep track of project billing deadlines.

It was intended to replace FTS' IT Solution Show Web System and Integrated Task Order Management System, used in GSA's regional offices, and the Task Order System and Online Management Information System, which is used nationwide.

The system was rolled out on a pilot basis in GSA's Region 3 (Delaware, southern New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) and Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming). But problems with GSA-P's interface with agency financial systems plagued it from the start, preventing the program from being rolled out nationally.

After performing some internal reviews of the program, the agency in September hired KPMG LLP of New York to analyze the system and determine whether it should be scrapped.

KPMG, in its report, confirmed GSA-P's shortcomings and concluded that the legacy systems did a better job managing IT projects.

'Overall, we found that GSA-P met fewer of GSA's business objectives and received a lower score than the legacy environment,' the report said. 'GSA-P scored lowest in the direct user value, indicating that GSA-P did not support the needs of the end users. This is evidenced by the low user satisfaction scores and by marked decreases in efficiency.'

Dooming the program was a lack of attention paid to how GSA-P would fit in the agency's overall organizational structure, according to the report. 'GSA relied heavily on the system to effect organizational and process changes, but did not invest sufficiently in managing the change,' KPMG said. 'This proved to be one of the critical project failures.'

KPMG recommended that GSA revert to the legacy systems on an interim basis and set course to find a new solution that fits within the agency's overall architecture and mission.

GSA agreed with the report. 'The agency acknowledges and agrees with KPMG's finding that a relationship between technological, process and organizational factors led to GSA-P's inability to meet business objectives,' the agency said.


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