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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Progress cited on NASA business systems modernization

NASA is chipping away at potential problems facing its new system to manage contracts and other business processes, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday.
NASA's contract management has been a GAO-classified area of high risk since 1990. The agency began the Integrated Enterprise Management Program (IEMP) systems modernization initiative in April 2000 to improve handling of contracts and other business processes. IEMP includes the creation of a core financial tool and systems to monitor contract spending, assets and human resources.

The report (GAO-07-691) concluded that NASA has made "significant strides" to develop and implement better business management. But auditors also identified areas of concern. GAO determined that despite progress, NASA needs to return to basics and address weaknesses in scheduling and requirements development before moving forward.

GAO has issued periodic reports on the progress of NASA's financial management improvement efforts at the request of Reps. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, and Todd Platts, R-Pa. The last report on the modernization was released in September 2005.

GAO recognized the project as an avenue for major improvement to NASA's business management, but cautioned that neglecting best practices early in the process could cause problems during implementation and future upgrades.

-Elizabeth Newell, GovExec.com

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