VA Suspends 2/3 of IT Projects

The VA has suspended spending on 188 of its 280 IT projects, according to Federal Computer Week. Most of the suspended projects will either be re-evaluated or canceled, according to VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker. Only 92 projects are currently authorized by the VA to draw funds appropriated for fiscal ’10.

This latest round of cancellations is the second under the VA’s Program Management Accountability System. The first round began in July 2009 and saw 45 projects suspended.

Due to the new program suspensions, VA anticipates “substantially more” than the previously announced $54 million in IT savings for this year, according to CIO Baker.  He was not prepared to estimate the extent of the new savings. VA officials had announced earlier this year that the department expected to save $37 million this year by stopping work on a part of the Replacement Scheduling Application Development program, accounting for around two-thirds of the $54 million referenced above.

Since officials have stated that some work on that program might be restarted, these new suspensions might be to offset potential costs.

Baker said April 19 that the scheduling project is being reconfigured and may be restarted with an entirely different approach.  The Replacement Scheduling Application Development team is considering a commercial off-the-shelf application as a solution, added CIO Baker.  While commercial solutions were unavailable in 2001 when the program started, it is now “a good probability,” he said.

“I don’t know what the replanned project is likely to cost or the timeline, but it is a whole different approach,” Baker told Federal Computer Week. “You could look at is at a separate and distinct project.”

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