IT modernization has a way to go at HUD

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development has been modernizing its information technology systems to better support its business units, but some work remains, according to Valerie Melvin, the Government Accountability Office’s director of information management and technology resource issues.

In a July 2009 report (.pdf), GAO laid out IT modernization recommendations for HUD, said (.pdf) Melvin in written testimony March 29 before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.

“Fully addressing the [July 2009 recommendations] is vital to helping the department implement sound management controls and, ultimately, to overcome the challenges it has faced in improving its IT management capabilities,” wrote Melvin.

The modernization effort’s investment management governance structure still has not developed criteria for assessing portfolio performance, or collected performance data, found GAO. HUD also expected its human capital plan, which aims to address an IT skills gap, to be complete by December 2011, but in March 2012 it still was not complete, said Melvin.

Finally, while HUD was able to tick some boxes in GAO’s recommendation that it create a conceptual enterprise architecture. In March 2012 it still had not finalized an EA policy to guide the development, maintenance, and use of this architecture, said Melvin.

The state of the department’s IT first got the attention of GAO because it was overly focused on maintaining existing systems rather than modernizing. Melvin said that in fiscal 2008, 98 percent of HUD’s IT budget went to maintaining legacy systems, leaving only 2 percent for new development.

For more:
- download Melvin's testimony, GAO-12-580T (.pdf)

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