Commerce watchdog to probe $340M cloud program

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The program is facing delays in deployments to component agencies at the department.

The Inspector General of the Department of Commerce on Monday announced an audit of the $340 million Business Applications Solution program to start "immediately." 

Accenture was awarded the 20-year BAS contract in April 2020. The program is designed to consolidate the highly federated agency's financial, acquisition data, personnel and property management systems into an integrated, cloud-hosted environment. 

BAS was conceived as a way of centralizing department data, improving analytics and business intelligence, reducing the cost of overlapping, redundant systems and providing better reporting to "internal and external stakeholders," according to the program's homepage

There's nothing in the OIG notice to indicate why the program is under scrutiny. The Federal IT Dashboard indicates that BAS has consistently maintained low-risk ratings since its launch. 

However, it appears from Dashboard reporting that there has been a one-year delay in deploying the financial and acquisition systems to three Commerce Department components: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Industry and Security and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The most recent Dashboard update, dated July 28, states that "the investment needs to refine progress reporting procedures and update projects based on replanning."

Large-scale financial systems modernizations at federal agencies, particularly those with multiple large components, have proved among the most difficult government IT projects to manage in recent years. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, has faced multiple hurdles in managing its multibillion dollar financial systems modernization effort over the past four years.