The Office of Management and Budget provides guidance to agencies on how to report on their IT investments, but this guidance does not ensure complete reporting or facilitate the identification of duplicative investments, according to a GAO report released in October 2011.

It notes: agencies differ on what investments they include as an IT investment. As a result, the 26 federal agencies’ annual IT investments are likely greater that the $79 billion reported in fiscal year 2011.

In addition, OMB’s guidance to federal agencies requires each investment to be mapped to a single functional category. This limits OMB’s ability to identify duplicative investments both within and across agencies because similar investments may be organized into different categories.

Until agencies routinely assess their IT investment portfolios to identify and reduce duplicative systems, the government’s current situation of having hundreds of similar IT investments will
continue to exist.