Senate Panel Examines Critical Factors of Successful Federal Information Technology Acquisition

WASHINGTON- Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) heard from public and private industry experts on the critical factors that lead to the successful acquisition of information technology (IT) investments. For years, the federal government has struggled to effectively implement large IT systems.  Today’s panel discussed examples of both successful and problematic IT projects and what steps need to be taken to improve the way the federal government manages its over $80 billion IT portfolio.  

“Today’s hearing is part of this committee’s ongoing efforts to improve how federal agencies acquire, implement and manage information technology projects,” Chairman Carper said.  “The truth is that every organization, public or private, faces challenges in when it comes to handling large IT investments, and our witnesses offered valuable insight into the similarities and differences between government and industry’s IT implementation. Much work remains until agencies achieve an acceptable success rate, but I am encouraged by what I heard today. I will continue to work with the Administration and others to continue our efforts to build success in developing and managing information technology.”

The panel noted that many of the factors that lead to successful IT projects come as a result of oversight and agency action, not solely legislation. Witnesses explored several critical success factors for IT investments, including: senior executive support of the program, active end-user involvement in developing requirements and testing, employing skilled program managers and teams, and utilizing consistent and stable government and contractor staff.  These factors were first identified by a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report and have been supported by numerous studies on the topic, including the American Council for Technology (ACT) – Industry Advisory Council (IAC) report, “Key Success Factors for Major Programs That Leverage IT: The ‘7-S for Success’ Framework,” which was released today.

For more information on today’s hearing, Identifying Critical Factors for Success in Information Technology Acquisitions, including a full video recording, please click here.