Companies Need to have to Build and Employ Modernization Programs for Crucial Legacy Units

What GAO Found In June 2019, GAO recognized 10 important federal facts know-how (IT) legacy

What GAO Found

In June 2019, GAO recognized 10 important federal facts know-how (IT) legacy programs that had been most in want of modernization. These legacy systems offered very important assist to agencies’ missions. According to the companies, these legacy devices ranged from about 8 to 51 several years outdated and, collectively, value about $337 million on a yearly basis to run and keep. Various of the devices utilized more mature languages, these as Popular Enterprise Oriented Language (COBOL). GAO has previously documented that reliance on such languages has hazards, this sort of as a rise in procurement and operating fees, and a lower in the availability of people with the proper ability sets. More, numerous of the legacy devices were being functioning with regarded safety vulnerabilities and unsupported hardware and software.

Of the 10 organizations dependable for these legacy units, GAO noted in June 2019 that 7 businesses (the Departments of Protection, Homeland Protection, the Interior, the Treasury as perfectly as the Business office of Staff Administration Small Enterprise Administration and Social Safety Administration) had documented programs for modernizing the devices (see desk). Of the 7 businesses with designs, only the Departments of the Interior’s and Defense’s modernization plans bundled all of the essential things determined in greatest practices (milestones, a description of the get the job done necessary to complete the modernization, and a program for the disposition of the legacy process). The other five companies lacked full modernization strategies. The Departments of Instruction, Wellbeing and Human Expert services, and Transportation did not have documented modernization options.

Desk: Extent to Which Agencies’ Had Documented Modernization Designs for Legacy Programs That Involved Crucial Elements, as of June 2019

Company

Bundled milestones to full the modernization

Described get the job done necessary to modernize process

Summarized prepared disposition of legacy system

Section of Defense

Indeed

Of course

Certainly

Division of Instruction

n/a – did not have a documented modernization system

Section of Health and Human Solutions

n/a – did not have a documented modernization prepare

Department of Homeland Safety

No

Indeed

No

Section of the Interior

Sure

Sure

Sure

Section of the Treasury

Partial

Certainly

No

Section of Transportation

n/a – did not have a documented modernization strategy

Place of work of Staff Administration

Partial

Partial

No

Smaller Business Administration

Of course

No

Of course

Social Protection Administration

Partial

Partial

No

Supply: GAO analysis of agency modernization strategies. | GAO-21-524T

Companies obtained a “partial” if the aspect was done for a part of the modernization.

GAO stressed that, right until the eight organizations set up full ideas, their modernizations would encounter an improved risk of price tag overruns, program delays, and undertaking failure. Accordingly, GAO proposed that every single of the 8 acquire this kind of ideas. Nonetheless, to date, seven of the businesses had not completed so. It is necessary that organizations put into action GAO’s tips and these strategies in purchase to satisfy mission desires, tackle safety hazards, and lower working prices.

Why GAO Did This Review

Every single yr, the federal federal government spends additional than $100 billion on IT and cyber-linked investments. Of this quantity, agencies have generally used about 80 percent on the operations and upkeep of existing IT investments, like legacy devices. Nevertheless, federal legacy methods are getting to be more and more obsolete. In May 2016, GAO reported scenarios where organizations had been employing units that experienced factors that had been at minimum 50 decades outdated or the suppliers were no longer giving help for hardware or program. Similarly, in June 2019 GAO noted that many of the federal government’s most important legacy systems employed out-of-date languages, had unsupported components and software, and were running with recognized stability vulnerabilities.

GAO was questioned to testify on its June 2019 report on federal agencies’ legacy devices. Especially, GAO summarized (1) the essential federal legacy methods that we discovered as most in need to have of modernization and (2) its evaluation of agencies’ strategies for modernizing them. GAO also offered updated information relating to agencies’ implementation of its connected recommendations.