IG concerned about GPO transformation

The Government Printing Office faces numerous technology challenges in the year ahead, according to the agency's inspector general.

In fact, four of GPO's 10 top management objectives listed in a recent report have a strong information technology element. The GPO’s semiannual report to Congress, covering a time span from April 1 to Sept. 30, points to a number of IT initiatives as central to its modernization. The report, however, also questions the agency’s ability to obtain the technology it needs.

“[W]e have also become increasingly concerned with the agency’s ability to efficiently and effectively acquire the high-technology goods and services necessary to transform to a 21st century information processing and disseminating operation,” states the report.

GPO’s IT-oriented management objectives include the improvement of financial management. GPO seeks to migrate its current financial and business systems to an integrated system based on Oracle enterprise applications. “Investment in the integrated system presents both great opportunities for enhanced efficiency and cost savings, and significant risk in the event the system does not meet user requirements,” the report states.

The IG, working with a consultant, identified several vulnerabilities in the Oracle initiative. Among the concerns were inadequate staffing, lack of performance metrics, and lack of “an effective method to manage program progress.”

Another objective focuses on the agency’s Security and Intelligent Documents business unit. The report noted that SID has set up a business development program addressing government credentials and has issued a request for proposals for a production capability for smartcards.

In addition, GPO plans to provide HSPD-12 services to federal agencies, which the report said “presents considerable revenue potential” to the agency. The IG noted that GPO management must lend the necessary procurement support to help SID realize that potential.

The report also cites the acquisition of a digital content management system as a top management objective. The $29 million system, dubbed FDsys for Future Digital System, will preserve and provide public access to government-published information. In fiscal 2007, the IG will direct independent verification and validation activities targeting the FDsys deployment, according to the report.

Overall, OIG emphasized IT management as a key objective.

Among GPO’s challenges are the establishment of an enterprise architecture that encompasses such efforts as the digital content management system, e-passport support, a public-key infrastructure rollout, and the Oracle financial management system project.

Two other management objectives implicitly involve IT: strategic planning and continuity of operations. As for the former, the report stated that aligning business unit plans with GPO’s strategic objectives would help ensure that “GPO’s transformation efforts stay on track.”

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