oversight

Shared Resources Project: Evaluation Report

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-11-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                  United   States   General   Accounting   Office   t?   p.

                  Report to the Honorable
GAO               Vie Fazio, Chairman, Subcommittee on
                  Legislative, Committee on
                  Appropriations, House of
                  Representatives            J2p-d&7
November   1990
                  SHARED RESOURCES
                  PROJECT
                  Evaluation Report
      United States

GAO   General Accounting
      Washington,   DC
                              Office
                           20548




      November 29,199O

      The Honorable Vie Fazio
      Chairman, Subcommittee on Legislative
      Committee on Appropriations
      House of Representatives

      Dear Mr. Chairman:

      As requested in the report to the fiscal year 1991 Legislative Branch
      Appropriations Bill, I am sending you our review of GAO'SShared
      Resources Pilot Project, which is part of GAO'Scontinuing commitment to
      effectively use technology to improve our work. The pilot was intended
      to develop and eva1uat.e mission related applications using local and
      wide area networks.

      Our commitment to use technology to more effectively do our work,
      which you and the Subcommittee have supported over the last several
      years, has yielded significant improvements in our responsiveness to
      Congress. Specifically, since 1985 GAO'Sannual work load has increased
      from 1,032 assignments to 1,705 assignments, with the total number of
      products released increasing from 852 to 1,446. At the same time, our
      authorized staffing level has remained unchanged. These results would
      not have been possible without computer technology. Such technology
      has become indispensable in meeting our mission objectives. Today, vir-
      tually all staff members within the agency use computers in doing their
      work. We foresee the increasing workload trend continuing to outpace
      our ability to obtain additional staff resources and are therefore contin-
      ually looking for ways to meet the demands placed upon us by more
      efficiently and effectively doing our work.

      We believe that connecting staff and managers through networks is a
      further enhancement which will help us meet increasing workload
      demands. We have found, in this first year of pilot operation, that a net-
      work allows easier access to information for all users. This result is par-
      ticularly significant for GAObecause of the geographically diverse body
      of program evaluators, analysts, and technical specialists located
      throughout, the United States and in overseas offices. The nature of our
      work requires this staff to be interactive in order to support the broad
      range of topics required to meet congressional needs. Although GAO'S
      staff is currently connected by telephone, mail and courier service, and
      personal visits, frequently such connections are not adequate-being
      restricted by time, expense, or the need to transmit high volumes of
      data. The pilot has clearly demonstrated the potential for using net-
      works to overcome these limitations and improve both the timeliness
      and quality of our work and ease the administrative burden on our


      Page1
evaluator staff. Further, the pilot has demonstrated that managers and
assignment supervisors can use the flexibility provided by the network
to improve their project coordination and oversight. Finally, the pilot
has provided initial insight into the possibilities of using networks to
automate routine office functions and increase the efficiency of our
administrative operations.

Accordingly, I have instructed GAO'SOffice of Information Management
and Communications (OIMC) to use the information gained from the pilot
project experience to develop specific requirements for a GAO-wide net-
work. I expect to have those requirements and the procurement strategy
available for review by our Information Resources Executive Board in
August 1991! and have set a goal of 1993 for the complete installation
GAO-wide.

Further, I have asked the Assistant Comptroller General for Operations
to address other issues brought to our attention by the project team.
These issues include 1) examining our work processes to determine if
changes can improve productivity, ‘2) providing greater access to
microcomputers by staff, and 3) examining the mix of computer hard-
ware available for purchase and evaluating our need for more advanced
personal computers.

In reporting to the Subcommittee on the pro,ject’s status last December, I
noted our commitment to improving GAD'Suse and management of infor-
mation technology. Part of that commitment resided in the Shared
Resources Pilot. Project. Although we have successfully completed the
pilot, we will keep the project team in place through fiscal year 1991 to
allow project, participants to continue their important role in developing
GAO-Wide network applications.

Another part of my commitment was to strengthen GAO'Sability to effec-
tively manage its information resources. In April 1990, I established an
advisory structure to enlist the involvement of GAO'Stop management in
developing an effective information resources management (IRM) pro-
gram. The Information Resources Executive Board, comprised of senior
GAOofficials, provides overall direction and advice on the IRM program’s
vision, goals, policies, priorities, and strategic plans. The IRM Steering
Committee, consisting of line and staff office managers, advises the
Assistant Compt,roller General for Operations on the operating plans and
issues that, must be addressed.




Page2
Additionally, in August 1990, I reorganized our IRM activities to enhance
our ability to deliver services. The creation of that new organization, the
Office of Information Management and Communications, should
strengthen GAO'Scapabilities in planning, policy development, and cus-
t,omcr relations. It also should provide the framework needed to manage
all phases of our information resources program including the auto-
mated information that comes into GAO,moves among and within GAO
units, and is eventually disseminated to our outside customers in the
form of GAOproducts and services. I have directed that this new office
give top priority to developing an effective planning process and
ensuring that GAOtechnical resources are available to support our IHM
program.

In closing, I would like to reemphasize my commitment to use technology
to improve GAO'Sresponsiveness to Congress. I strongly believe that
GAO'Sability to continue to meet our increasingly complex work load will
depend on our ability to increase productivity through information tech-
nology. Our progress to date could not have been realized without your
support and the support of the committee. I appreciate that support and
look forward to working with you as we implement the next phase.

Sincerely yours,




Charles A. Bowsher
Comptroller General of
the United States




Page3
Contents


                        A

Letter                                                      1

Shared Resources                                           8
Project Evaluation
Report
Appendix I                                                 18
Objectives, Scope and       1
Methodology
Appendix II                                                20
Assignment Conduct          Automated Workpapers
                            Indexing and Referencing
                                                           21
                                                           25
                            Report Review and Processing   28

Appendix III                                               33
Job and Unit
Management
Appendix IV                                                38
N&work                      Network Configuration          38
                            Network Management             44
Configuration,              System Security                45
Mianagement and             Current and Future Actions     46
Security
Alppendix V                                                48
Training
A:ppendix VI                                               53
A:nalysis of User
Questionnaire




                            Page4
                Contents




Appendix VII                                                               68
Network User
Questionnaire
Figures         Figure 1: SRP User Questionnaire Response Rate
                Figure 2: Staff Using Microcomputers in FY 1990 to
                     Perform GAO Duties
                Figure 3: Staff Using LAN in FY 1990 to Perform GAO        55
                     Duties
                Figure 4: Frequency of LAN Use for All Users               56
                Figure 5: Frequency of LAN LJseWhen Workstation is in      57
                     User’s Office
                Figure 6: Frequency of LAN Use When Workstation is in      57
                     a Common Area
                Figure 7: Frequency of LAIi Use of Hard-Wired Users        68
                Figure 8: Frequency of LAN Use for Dial-Up Users           59
                Figure 9: Frequency of LAN Use for Various Functions       60
                Figure 10: Frequency uf LAN IJse for Assignment            61
                     Conduct
                Figure 11: Frequency of LAN Use for Assignment             62
                     Management
                Figure 12: Frequency of LAX Use for IJnit Management       62
                Figure 13: Impact of LAN on Quality (Weekly and Daily      63
                     Users Only)
                Figure 14: Impact of LAN on Timeliness (Weekly and         64
                     Daily Users Only)
                Figure 15: Percentage of LAN Users Perceiving a Positive   65
                     Impact of LAN on Various Areas
                Figure 16: Reasons for IJsing Computers in Stand-alone     66
                     Rather Than LAN Mode
                Figure 17: LAN Users’ Perception of Adequacy               67




                Page5
Cuntents




                                                                     3




Abbreviations

GAO        General Accounting Office
OIMC       Office of Information Management and Communications
IRM        Informat,ion Resources Management
RCED       Hesources, Community, and Economic Development Division   I
HRD        Human Resources Division                                  I
SFIZO      San Francisco Regional Office
LAN        Local Area Network
PC         Personal Computer
DOS        Disk Operating System
IEEE       Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
E’Y        Fiscal Year
CFH        Code of Federal Kegulations


Page6
Page7
Shared ResourcesProject Evaluation Report


                  The Shared Resources Project is a cooperative effort among two GAO
                  divisions-the   Resources, Community, and Economic Development Divi-
                  sion (RCED)and the Human Resources Division (HRD)-and the San Fran-
                  cisco Regional Office (SFRO)to test and evaluate audit-related ADP
                  applications in a network environment; and further, to use this test to
                  help specify the requirements for a GAG-wide network. Although the test
                  was to be primarily focused on the way assignments are conducted
                  through the development of electronic workpapers, automated
                  indexing/referencing, and report review and processing; the network
                  was extensively used for other aspects of assignment and unit
                  management.

                  After one year in operation, the Shared Resources Project has been suc-
                  cessful. It has shown that easier access to information and sharing of
                  that information among a broad spectrum of users will improve both the
                  timeliness and quality of our work and ease the administrative burden
                  on GAO’Sevaluator staff. The Project also allowed us to more clearly
                  identify the critical requirements necessary for successful implementa-
                  tion of a GAO-wide network.

                  With the assistance of GAOevaluation design experts, we developed a
                  study methodology aimed at substantiating the benefits and limitations
                  of using local area networks to improve GAO’Soperation. Our review
                  included interviewing unit and assignment managers about their exper-
                  iences in using the local area network (LAN), developing case studies on
                  individual assignments being conducted to test LAN applications, pre-
                  paring summaries of the results of our applications development, and
                  assessing our network operations and management, This effort was sup-
                  plemented by three independent consultant reviews of network opera-
                  tions and pilot applications. In addition, we surveyed all users in the
                  three participating units through a questionnaire; over 500 staff shared
                  their experiences and insights. An analysis of their comments on IAN
                  usage, performance, and impact on job and management performance is
                  incorporated in this report. A detailed analysis of the questionnaire
                  responses is provided in appendix VI. Further details on our review
                  methodology are included in appendix 1.


                  Currently, over 1,000 users have access to the network. Almost 80 per-
Network Use and   cent of the staff responding to the questionnaire use the LAISwith a
Benefits          smaller percentage (23 percent) doing over one-half of their work on the
                  IAX. Although the Project’s initial objectives focused attention on a lim-
                  ited number of assignments, we found that the LAN was used throughout


                  Page8
                     SharedResources
                                   ProjectEvaluationReport




                     the test units for three primary functions: assignment conduct, assign-
                     ment management, and unit management. Each of these is briefly sum-
                     marized below. Additional details on network use are provided in
                     appendices II and III.


Assignment Conduct   The basic unit of GAO'S work load is the individual assignment. We tested
                     potential applications related to job performance on all or some portion
                     of seven individual assignments. These assignments used electronic files
                     to store and share information and electronic mail [E-mail) to facilitate
                     job management, communication and, in some cases, to develop draft
                      and final products.

                     Workpapers are the backbone of any GAOassignment. They comprise the
                     textual, graphic, data, and physical documentation upon which we base
                     our findings and recommendations in pursuing assignment objectives.
                     Many of our workpapers are still prepared as handwritten and typed
                     documents. However, in recent years, workpapers have increasingly
                     been created and stored on stand-alone personal computers (PCS).They
                     are typically transferred between job staff at different locations either
                     physically on disk, or tape, or by using modems. Successful completion
                     of any assignment depends on the orderly collection, review, and anal-
                     ysis of relevant material found within the workpapers. For complex
                     assignments, this material may fill dozens of volumes and be located at
                     various audit sites across the nation. As a result, workpaper access may
                     be limited at any one point in time to only those staff at a particular
                     location.

                     Project results in this area demonstrated that the network helps staff
                     complete assignments more quickly and efficiently. For example, in one
                     test assignment involving a headquarters group and three regional
                     offices, one region was connected by the network to headquarters while
                     the other two were not. The networked region transmitted electronic
                     workpapers and other documents to the Washington supervisor for
                     review on a continual basis. The other two regions’ workpapers and
                     products received periodic review when visited by headquarters staff.
                     As a result, headquarters staff were able to interact more easily and
                     meet assignment objectives more efficiently with the networked region
                     than with the two regions that were not networked.

                     Another assignment used the network to prepare testimony under
                     extremely tight time frames. Drafts were prepared and transmitted via
                     the network from a remote site to headquarters where they were


                     Page9
                            SharedResourcesProjectEvaluationReport




                            reviewed and returned electronically with comments. Electronic sharing
                            allowed simultaneous review by all involved parties. The issue area
                            director stated that the normal drafting and review process involved
                            multiple trips across town. Using the network saved considerable time
                            and allowed him to better accomplish the review process.

                            Overall, we found that 80 percent of frequent (weekly and daily)’ LAN
                            users asserted that the network had a positive impact on the timeliness
                            of their assignments, and over 69 percent believed that it improved job
                            quality. Those who used the LAN less frequently generally felt that it
                            had less impact. Generally, we found that the network offered opportu-
                            nities to improve the quality and timeliness of data analysis by offering
                            all staff on an assignment an opportunity to have quicker access to rele-
                            vant data. These improvements resulted from

                        . simpler organization of assignment workpapers and files;
                        l easier and concurrent draft development by different groups using the
                          same files; and
                        . greatly improved communications with remote staff regardless of loca-
                          tion or time.

                            We also identified immediate and long-term potential benefits. Network
                            use can

                        l   facilitate analysis by allowing search and retrieval of data within large
                            internal data bases; and
                        l   provide direct access to agency data bases for input into job files,


Assignment Management       In the current GAOenvironment, assignment management is dependent
                            on paper and communication. In planning and initiating an assignment, a
                            number of administrative forms need to be prepared and forwarded
                            through various levels of review. As an assignment proceeds, its status
                            is tracked through additional administrative forms that provide infor-
                            mation on staff-day usage, cost, and milestones. These forms must also
                            go through a number of reviews throughout the organization. To update
                            these forms with current information, evaluators-in-charge and assis-
                            tant directors need to solicit information from the various staff on the
                            assignment. This process becomes more tedious and cumbersome if

                            ‘Frequentusersrepresented   only about23percentof all users.Asdescribed
                                                                                                  in latersections,
                                                                                                                  usewas
                            curtailedfor a numberof reasonsincludinglackof staff accessto microcomputers,limitedsoftware
                            availability,andlimitedreliabilityof networkoperatingsoftware.


                            Page10
    SharedResourcesProjectEvahlatinnReport




    assignment staff are located in a regional office or at a remote audit site.
    In these instances, making contact with staff while playing “phone tag”
    is very time-consuming and frustrating.

    As a result of the Project, assignment managers, who typically direct
    one or more assignments simultaneously, found significant utility in the
    network, One manager who was in charge of six assignments relied
    almost completely on the network to monitor job progress, review work
    plans and interviews, and relay job-related decisions. This manager
    stated that her performance would be greatly diminished without the
    network.

    We found that by using the network, managers are able to

l monitor assignment progress in a more timely manner;
l review pertinent job material from remote locations, without relying on
  personal visits; and
. keep their supervisors better informed.

    We believe that managers will be able to use the network to

9 process entire assignments from job planning through report issuance
  with little paper; and
l create data bases so that future assignments can make better use of
  existing material.

    IJsing the network to improve information flow and access to staff and
    relevant job data will allow managers to make better, more accurate
    decisions regarding job direction and to better meet assignment mile-
    stones and audit quality standards. For example, assignment managers
    used the network to transmit quickly to division management the
    paperwork initiating an assignment, and in turn were able to receive
    approval much faster to begin the assignment. They also used the net-
    work to send in survey results and implementation-phase paperwork for
    quicker review and approval. Our questionnaire results also showed
    that over 74 percent of those staff using the IAN for assignment manage-
    ment on a daily/weekly basis believed that the LAN improved their
    quality of management, and over 96 percent asserted that it improved
    the timeliness of their management activities. This represents produc-
    tivity gains at a time when workload demands are steadily increasing.




    Page11
                      SharedResources
                                    ProjectEvaluationReport




Unit Management       Unit managers typically fill such roles as Assistant Director, Issue Area
                      Director, or Director for Operations/Planning and Reporting. They are
                      responsible for directing large blocks of related work or for directing the
                      activities of a work unit, region, or division. Unit management incurs
                      constraints on a very broad scale. Although many of the divisions now
                      have automated management information systems, they are still depen-
                      dent on relevant information obtained from staff to prepare the various
                      forms for input. In addition, many issue-area directors need to track
                      staff and assignments at various remote audit sites, both locally and
                      across the nation. Their ability to get timely and relevant information is
                      dependent on how easily they can make contact with the appropriate
                      staff. This process becomes particularly demanding if staff are located
                      in different time zones.

                      The managers in the project units made fairly extensive use of the net-
                      work, primarily in directing work at remote sites and for intraoffice
                      communications. Over 89 percent of unit managers who use the LAN fre-
                      quently said it improved the timeliness of unit management, and 76 per-
                      cent said it improved the quality of unit management. For example, one
                      manager estimated that 80 percent of his daily contact with his subunit
                      managers is through the LAN. He stated that “the network is an essential
                      tool for operations.” In addition, the operations director for one division
                      uses the network almost exclusively to keep in touch with her staff and
                      relies heavily on the network for intradivisional communications. She
                      finds that the staff, rather than feeling the network is an impersonal
                      medium, believe they now have improved access to her, whereas before
                      they may have felt intimidated or reluctant to make contact. This
                      improves the staffs’ productivity because they can resolve concerns and
                      receive decisions quickly so that job progress can continue. As a resuIt,
                      the network has improved the overall effectiveness of her efforts and
                      those of her staff.

                      We believe that additional opportunities for improved unit management
                      can be obtained through increased network use that will result in better
                      productivity, thereby allowing us to increase our workload+ These
                      include

                  l   office automation, such as automated form development and processing,
                      automated routing, and scheduling; and
                  l   improved gathering and dissemination of information critical to assign-
                      ment and unit management.




                      Page12
                          SharedResources
                                        ProjectEvaluationReport




                          During the course of the Project’s first year, several limitations became
Network Limitations       apparent that limited our ability to develop applications and provide
                          reliable network service. Some of these limitations were inherent in our
                          network configuration and have been addressed. Others are related to
                          GAO’Scommunications infrastructure and the availability of personal
                          computers, which, if not addressed, could hinder successful network
                          development on a GAO-wide basis.


Workstation and           The most common observation made by users on our questionnaire was
                          the absolute necessity to have on-demand access to computers. Without
Communications Access     such access, network use was severely restricted. Further, users who
Are Not Sufficient        are required to use modems to reach the network were handicapped by
                          slow data transmission and the need to give up use of their phones in
                          order to use the phone lines to connect to the network. While over 47
                          percent of “hard-wired” users make heavy use of the LAN (50 percent or
                          more of their work was done on LAN), only 9 percent of the users con-
                          nected by modem make heavy use of the LAN. About 31 percent of the
                          questionnaire respondents who had to share a computer in a common
                          work area never even use the LAN.

                          In addition, many of GAO’Savailable computers are not adequate for net-
                          work use. These older computers (using an 8088 processor chip) are
                          being replaced by higher speed machines (using an 80286 processing
                          chip}, but even these may be limiting because software is increasingly
                          being tailored to computers using the 80386 processing chip. l?or
                          example, using Windows or similar multi-tasking software, which could
                          enhance job productivity or facilitate office automation, requires a 386
                          type machine to perform acceptably.


Network Operations Were   The Project currently uses mini-computers as file servers. These partic-
Not IReliable             ular computers were not reliable. System software contained numerous
                          “bugs” which continually plagued the network and caused work ses-
                          sions to be lost. Almost 61 percent of the staff felt that system reliability
                          was a limiting factor in their use of the network. In addition, virtually
                          every user or manager interviewed listed system reliability as a major
                          problem.

                          As a result of these limitations, project participants went through a rig-
                          orous exercise to determine system requirements necessary to support
                          their needs. With the assistance of several outside consultants we have
                          thoroughly reviewed alternatives to the existing network configuration


                          Page13
                            SharedResourcesProjectEvaluationReport




                            and are prepared to proceed with proven network technology as we
                            begin the first phase of implementation. In addition to meeting our relia-
                            bility and operational requirements, it will be less expensive to purchase
                            and operate than the existing system,


File Sharing and Transfer   In addition to reliability problems, the operating software would not
                            allow for easy file sharing and transfer. This problem particularly ham-
Is Difficult                pered applications development efforts, such as automated workpapers,
                            which were dependent on these functions for successful implementation.
                            Further, dial-up users lacked the same filing and transfer capabilities
                            available to hard-wired users. As a result, less than 20 percent of the
                            staff regularly used the network for file sharing, and 28 percent of the
                            staff used the network to transfer files. This problem will be corrected
                            with the installation of our new network.


System Software Not         Over 33 percent of system users reported inadequate access to software,
Readily Available           a problem verified in our case studies, These users were unable to do
                            critical analyses using data base or spreadsheet software as none was
                            available for network use. Additionally, our case studies identified a
                            lack of interoperability among network functions and software as a
                            major concern. Switching from one software package to another was a
                            lengthy process and frequently resulted in users staying in a stand-alone
                            operation rather than moving to the network.


Technical Support Is        Technical support for the system was primarily directed towards
                            solving problems with the network configuration, thereby making sup-
Limited                     port for other user problems limited. Extensive training was initially
                            provided to all users and periodically offered during the Project. How-
                            ever, no on-line help was available, and formal training courses were not
                            always available when needed. Almost 32 percent of LAN users believed
                            that training was less than adequate, and 24 percent found that tech-
                            nical support was inadequate. Additional details on training are pro-
                            vided in appendix V.


                            Networks are an essential tool for improving the way we work within
Conclusions and             GAO. Increased use of networks will lessen the effects of time and dis-
Requirements                tance on communications among staff. Better communications offer an
                            opportunity to improve both the timeliness and quality of our products.
                            While system limitations did constrain network performance, we learned


                            Page14
                        SharedResourcesProjectEvaluationReport




                        from our experiences. A measure of the Project’s success is that a mech-
                        anism was in place to record the limitations and to make timely adjust-
                        ments where appropriate.

                        Our experience with the Project points out the critical requirements that
                        must be met to assure that the benefits which can clearly accrue from
                        network use be made available across GAO.These requirements provide
                        a basic functional framework which, in conjunction with our consultant
                        studies and our experiences with other network operations within the
                        office, will provide a good basis for developing specifications for the
                        GAo-wide network.


Network Configuration   Our experience with this network provides a good starting point for
                        developing functional specifications for a GAO-wide network. GAO’sorga-
                        nizational structure makes multiple, decentralized networks virtually
                        mandatory. Our initial experience with a centralized server demon-
                        strated that a centralized configuration lacks flexibility and cannot meet
                        the different needs of GAO’Svarious units. However, it also pointed out
                        that these networks must be interactive so that any one person in GAO
                        can communicate with any other person regardless of location. As such,
                        these networks require a common architecture, compatible operating
                        software, a common E-mail package, and similar procedures and stan-
                        dards for other operations. Appendix IV provides further details on net-
                        work configuration.

                        Other operating parameters must also be considered in developing a
                        requirements statement:

                        Communications: High-speed communications between and within net-
                        works is essential. Low-speed modems are largely unacceptable as com-
                        munication links between users and the system. Staff should perceive no
                        loss of response time in using the network (when compared to a stand
                        alone mode-approximately 9,600 baud). Data transmission should be
                        fast enough to facilitate file transfer of large data files.

                        Workstations: Workstations using the 80286 processor chip meet min-
                        imal current standards. However, workstations using the 80386
                        processor allow much faster processing speeds and the ability to take
                        advantage of available software, such as multitasking. Strong considera-
                        tion should be given to the 386 type workstation for future
                        procurements.



                        Page15
                     Shared        ResourcesProject   EvaluationReport




Network Management   Although network configuration establishes the physical parameters of
                     the environment, this environment requires significant management
                     attention to function properly. In turn, network management requires
                     skills and knowledge not widely available in GAO. Network management
                     also calls for a close organizational linkage between the various units
                     and the Office of Information Management and Communications (OIMC).

                     Further, as stated earlier, common standards among various GAO LANS
                     are essential to enable communications links among all units. Even with
                     common architecture, networks can be limited in their ability to “talk”
                     to one another without identical or closely related operating rules and
                     procedures. GAO'S newly inaugurated Network Standards Committee is a
                     step towards standardization. OIMC must ensure, however, that stan-
                     dards are developed and enforced.

                     Each LAN also needs a systems administrator to ensure that accounts are
                     established, data back-up is performed, etc. While management of
                     smaller LANS can be a part-time assignment, larger LAANS   will likely
                     require full time attention and specialized training. Further, GAO
                     requires an officewide network manager and sufficient staff to monitor,
                     consult, and oversee all network operations. GAO is currently seeking
                     such capability. Even though an agencywide LAN operator will require
                     some additional management and administrative attention, GAO is con-
                     vinced that the overall benefits to the line evaluator will more than
                     compensate.

                     Finally, network security must be designed and built in from the initial
                     phases of network design. Networks are vulnerable to computer viruses
                     and unauthorized users. Good management, practice and diligence can
                     prevent most problems.


User Access          A well-functioning network is worthless if users are denied access to the
                     system. The keys to access are workstations, software, and training,
                     without which network use is severely restricted.

                     Workstations: An absolute criterion for network use is the unrestricted
                     access of staff to workstations. Our questionnaire results, interviews,
                     and case studies all indicate workstation access as the single most crit-
                     ical factor in determining network usage. Closely linked is the way that
                     access is granted. Staff usage among modem users is significantly lower
                     t,han that of staff directly connected to the LAN. This factor is directly
                     related to our findings under network configuration that establish a


                     Page     16
SharedResourcesProjectEvaluationReport




requirement for a system of networks. Rather than having many users
connected to a central server by phone lines, many small networks
would be connected by high-speed communications links.

Software and applications: Even with a well-equipped network giving
access to all users, network use will remain limited without adequate
software being provided. Network software must be as available and as
easy to use as the software provided for stand-alone workstations. Pro-
viding interoperability among network functions (e.g. filing, data trans-
mission, E-mail) and assignment software (e.g. word processing,
spreadsheet analysis, and data base analysis} is essential. Participants
in our test assignments cited a lack of interoperability as a major limita-
tion in the existing network system. Again, referring to an earlier point,
software considerations frequently drive hardware needs. Interoper-
ability and concurrent applications require consideration of 386-based
workstations.

Training: Training provides much of the glue that holds the network’s
ingredients together. As with network security, training must be a factor
from the very beginning. Ease of training should be a major factor in
selecting key network operating packages. The Training Institute has
been part of the Project team throughout this first year. This involve-
ment must continue in order to allow the Institute sufficient lead time to
develop a training approach.

 Finally, one overriding consideration requires attention. Our effort has
 been directed at using networks and associated technology to improve
 overall effectiveness and efficiency impacting on job quality and job
 timeliness. We believe, however, that concurrent with this effort sys-
 temic studies and tests should be conducted on how we work, how we
 review and process reports, and how we assure that customer needs are
 being met. Much of our current work is grounded in time-honored
 processes. Technology can facilitate this work and provide a vehicle for
 changing it. In addition, other factors must also be considered in
 improving the process, such as increasing the level of accountability,
 responsibility, and flexibility of work groups in developing products.
 Such considerations should not be driven by the Shared Resources Pro-
ject. What the Project can do is provide a mechanism for testing dif-
 ferent approaches.




Page17
Appendix I
~.           .---

Objectives, Scopeand Methodology


                    The objective of this evaluation was to assess the progress being made
                    to automate GAOmission-related applications, using local and wide area
                    networks. The assessment served as a means for identifying and deter-
                    mining the functional requirements needed for a fully integrated GAO
                    network. It also helped us identify the specific automated tools needed
                    to develop, implement, and maintain reliable application programs that
                    can be used on a c;ao-wide basis. Participating units in the pilot effort
                    included two headquarters divisions-the       Resources, Community, and
                    Economic Development Division and the Human Resources Division-
                    and the San Francisco Regional Office.

                    To achieve our objective, we evaluated applications dealing with elec-
                    tronic workpapers, referencing and indexing, and report review and
                    processing in terms of t,heir ability and potential for facilitating the way
                    we do our work. Wtl also assessed whether these applications were tech-
                    nically feasible or efficient under the current operating network config-
                    uration. In doing so w(h identified benefits, both realized and potential,
                    of a networked system, c’onccrns and limitations incurred by users of the
                    network, and t,hc functional requirements needed for a fully integrated
                    GM n&work.

                    With advice from GIZO’Sevaluation design experts, we pursued several
                    means of gathering information to support our objectives. We inter-
                    viewed 30 GM) officials, all having access to the network, to solicit their
                    comments and sr$gestions on what the functional requirements of a GAO
                    network should be. These included directors for operations and for plan-
                    ning and reporting, issuch-areadirectors, assistant directors, evaluators,
                    and technical support. staff in t,he participating units.

                    We also sent a qllestionnaire to over 900 staff in the three participating
                    unit,s to obtain information on their use of ADP and the pilot network.
                    From this questionnaire. we received 535 responses to such issues as
                    how the staff used the network and the impact it had on their produc-
                    tivity and timeliness. In addition, we requested supporting documenta-
                    tion on t.hc operations of’ the network and on the technical support
                    required. These inclrlded

              . individual summaries on the results of the three applications being
                tested in thy divisions and the regional office;
              . case studies of st‘vc’n different assignments showing how the pilot net-
                ivork incrc;lsctd job quality, timeliness and productivity;
              l a technical summary :md functional requirements paper outlining the
                functional requirotrrcnts that t.he net,work would have to support; and


                    Page18
    Appendix1
    Objectives,ScopeandMethodology




.   a summary highlighting the training requirements that will be needed to
    implement and sustain the network.

    We found during the first year of pilot operations that system reliability
    and software operating problems hampered application development
    efforts such as automated workpapers. Although these problems have ’
    been resolved, the situation did limit our ability to measure the effects
    the network had on assignments selected for the pilot. While continued
    applications development will yield further evidence of actual benefit on
    a case by case basis, we believe that several factors preclude develop-
    ment of an overall cost/benefit analysis at this time. For example,
    because there is no “standard” GAO assignment, a valid analysis would
    require comparison of a large number of jobs over a long time frame
    with and without local area network capabilities. We believe, neverthe-
    less, that the value and broad parameters of a network architecture
    have been successfully demonstrated.




    Page19
Appendix II

Assignment Conduct


              GAOis entering a new environment through its use of automated tools to
              facilitate its audit and evaluation work. Although we currently use com-
              mercial software to perform spreadsheet, data base, and statistical anal-
              yses, we have not adapted this software to assist in structuring our
              documentation or in report development, preparation, and review. As
              part of the Shared Resources Project, we have started to develop appli-
              cations relating to three major components of assignment conduct-
              automated workpapers, report referencing and indexing, and report
              review and processing. These applications are being developed within
              the context of on-going assignments in GAO’SHuman Resources Division,
              the Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division, and
              the San Francisco Regional Office.

              Our objective in developing these applications was to determine whether
              using the network to prepare workpapers and draft reports, and process
              these reports through an intensive review process, would enhance the
              timeliness and productivity of our work as well as the quality of our
              products. Specifically, we wanted to identify the advantages and disad-
              vantages of using the network and the network applications to perform
              these tasks. This knowledge would, in turn, enable us to identify the
              functional requirements needed for a GAO-wide integrated network
              system.

              We were able to recognize benefits in each application and identify a
              number of potential benefits that a networked environment will have on
              the productivity of our staff and the quality of our products. Unfortu-
              nately, our initial work on these applications was subject to a certain
              amount of trial and error as we began to adapt our work processes to a
              network environment. Problems with the network’s hardware and
              software prevented us from accomplishing all of our objectives. None-
              theless, both our success and our failure helped us to identify critical
              requirements which must be met to assure that benefits, which can
              clearly accrue from network use, be made available across GAO.

              While the following discussion details the specific benefits and limita-
              tions of the three assignment applications, one important consideration
              had an overriding impact on how much we were able to achieve under
              the Shared Resources Project: the full benefits of automation cannot be
              realized until a workstation is provided for every staff member, The
              purpose of automation is defeated if a staff member cannot get imme-
              diate access to information available on the network, and to do so the
              staff must have ready, on-demand access to a computer. Since many
              staff in GAOare not presently afforded this access, it was and continues


              Page20
                         Appendix   II
                         AssigumentConduct




                         to be an overriding limitation in developing the assignment applications
                         under the Shared Resources Project.


Automated                textual, graphic, data, and physical documentation upon which we base
Workpapers               our findings and recommendations in pursuing assignment objectives.
                         Successful completion of any assignment depends on the orderly collec-
                         tion, review, and analysis of relevant material found within the
                         workpapers. For complex assignments, this material may fill dozens of
                         volumes and be located at various audit sites across the nation. As a
                         result, workpaper access may be limited at any one point in time to only
                         those staff at a particular location.


Historical Perspective   Many of our workpapers are still prepared as handwritten and typed
                         documents. However, in recent years, workpapers have increasingly
                         been created and stored on stand-alone personal computers (PCS).They
                         are typically transferred between job staff at different locations either
                         physically on disk, or tape, or by using modems.

                         The process of storing and transferring electronic data without a net-
                         work environment is laborious, unstandardized, and nonsecure. Using
                         Crosstalk and modems to transfer files between distant, stand-alone PCS
                         is a time-consuming process requiring two computers, two staff, and
                         four phone lines-two for the modems and two for the users to verbally
                         nurse the file transfer process along. While this is a time-consuming and
                         often frustrating task, it is still more efficient than sending files and
                         data physically by public transportation.

                         Job file security is problematic with data often kept on multiple floppy
                         disks-one set for headquarters staff and one for each region or sup-
                         porting office. Not only does this process create the potential for losing
                         track of the standard or “correct” version of a file held by multiple
                         users, but floppy disks themselves are prone to damage, erasure, and
                         theft. Secure, standardized file backup procedures that allow quick
                         recovery of lost information are also rare in the current GAOstand-alone
                         computer environment.

                         In addition, sharing data is not easy within our current environment.
                         Access to data is generally constrained to staff at one particular loca-
                         tion. When management or other staff at another location need access,



                         Page21
                     AppendixII
                     AssignmentConduct




                     the data must be physically transported between the two locations. This
                     procedure reduces productivity and is very time-consuming.

                     Finally, since most of our computer work ends up accumulating in
                     numerous floppy disks stored in people’s file cabinets rather than in a
                     central data base, there is no easily reusable source of information from
                     prior audit work. Too frequently in an issue area, or a line-of-effort
                     within an issue area, the text, data, and graphics information from prior
                     related assignments is hard to retrieve or, worse, lost because of staff
                     rotation, retirement, or transfer of key individuals.


Activities to Date   During the past year, all three participating units in the Shared
                     Iicw~~~~u~  Project used the network to create and share electronic
                     workpapers. Electronic “folders” were created for all normal workpaper
                     bundles, administrative documents were filed in the administrative
                     folder, correspondence in the correspondence folder and so on, ending in
                     drafts in the draft folder. Keywords were assigned to electronic
                     workpapers as they were created to facilitate locating and working with
                     all workpapers related to a given topic. None of the electronic
                     workpaper assignments used in the Shared Resources Project progressed
                     to the product-drafting stage, but efforts were taken to identify and test
                     various text retrieval and assembly software that will facilitate that
                     stage of our work.

                     We also successfully tested and used the wide-scale file transfer capabil-
                     ities of the headquarters Data General minicomputer to speed t,he
                     sharing of various job files between headquarters, site, and regional
                     users. Unfortunately, because of problems with the network’s hardware
                     and software, we were not able to achieve all we had set out to do. How-
                     ever, we were able to identify and test appropriate software and hard-
                     ware necessary to give an assignment’s staff the ability to jointly
                     assemble, analyze, and draft reports from centralized, shareable
                     workpaper files.

                     In addition, we reviewed the literature and attended many contractor
                     demonstrations of text scanner and retrieval systems, built prototype
                     issue area and assignment databases, and successfully operated the pro-
                     totypes in several graphical user interface environments.


Requirements         For automated workpapers to be successful, we need the ability to share
                     with other responsible .job staff any and all workpapers created. This


                     Page   22
    AppendixII
    AssignmentConduct




    sharing must be provided quickly and must satisfy numerous inquiries
    simultaneously. In addition, staff should be able to search for pertinent
    information using a keyword or topic retrieval command that would
    access various workpapers on either one particular assignment or a
    number of assignments in a specific issue area. Staff also need the
    ability to scan agency-generated documents in order to retrieve perti-
    ncnt data for ,job files. The more substantive and relevant the informa-
    tion in the workpapers, and the more available it is to various staff, the
    better our productivity on an assignment will be.

    On the basis of the lessons we have learned in the Shared Resources
    Project over the last year, we identified the following generic require-
    ments for an effective network-based automated workpapers system:

l Network access-all staff must be given access to the network, prefer-
  ably with an individual workstation at each location. In addition, remote
  users must have the same capabilities as their counterparts in
  headquarters.
. Operational reliability-the    network must be reliably available 24 hours
  a day, seven days a week with scheduled off-hour maintenance down-
  time, This availability must extend to all local area network (or cabled)
  users as well as all remote (or dial-in) users.
l Information security-the      network must provide the highest level of
  password-based system access controls to prevent the unauthorized
  access, editing, or destruction of information stored in the system. Net-
  work administration staff within each division, region, or office in GAO
  should have absohne control over access by all their respective users to
  each organization’s files and programs.
9 Compatibility with existing software-the      network must run all the
  word processing, spreadsheet, graphics, and data analysis software cur-
  rently used in GAO with the same commands and ease of use as exists in
  the stand-alone environment.
l Ease of training and use-the network’s compatibility with the installed
  base of GAO applications means that there should be no significant addi-
  tional instruction necessary to train users in all network-based applica-
  tions. New office automation applications such as electronic mail,
  calendaring, scheduling, file storage, retrieval, and transfer should be
  intuitively easy to learn and use by those GAO staff who have a wide
  range of computer skills.
. Speed-the network must run all word processing, data analysis,
  spreadsheet, graphics, and office automation applications with the same
  or greater speed as exists in the stand-alone environment. The network’s
  processing, communications, and file-storage capabilities should be sized


    Page23
    AppendixII
    AssignmentConduct




  so that full use of the network’s applications by all members of the
  organization will not significantly degrade the speed of those
  applications.
. Easy exchange of information between various applications-the        net-
  work should allow for easy “cut-and-past,e” exchange of text, data, and
  graphics between its various applications. The ability to insert a graph
  or spreadsheet table into a word processing file will allow users to more
  easily integrate these various forms of evidence and analysis into an
  integrated, whole presentation.
l Ease of installation and maintenance-the      network should be relatively
  easy to install and maintain by division, region, or office network admin-
  istration staff. The network’s operating system must be sufficiently
  developed, tested, and “debugged,” and the documentation and proce-
  dures for system operations and maintenance should be fully developed.
  GAO’S system staff should only have to learn and apply tested and reli-
  able methods and procedures to keep the system running at full
  performance.

    For additional details on the functional specifications required see
    appendix IV.

    In addition to the generic requirements stated above, we also identified
    specific needs of a fully networked automated workpaper environment:

. A text retrieval system that works across multiple file types, allowing
  job staff to use “keyword” or “topic-based” searches to retrieve rele-
   vant information from text, data, and graphic files residing in the
   assignment data base. Using the assignment pian as the foundation
   around which the assignment message is assembled, the various facts
   pertaining to the diverse elements of a finding can be assembled into
  summary workpapers, analyses, and report drafts. These can then be
   made immediately available for review and editing by local and distant
   staff and managers.
. A multiple subdirectory structure, similar to that which is allowed
   under a DOS-like network operating system, which would allow the
   Information Manager and other job staff to easily build and modify file
  structures that correspond to the way the assignment’s information is
  being assembled.
. An electronic notepad capability, which permits supervisory and refer-
  enter comments to be “clipped” to the document and responses to be
   “clipped” right beside them electronically. Using a keyword and topic




    Page24
                         AppendixII
                         AssignmentConduct




                         search capability and an electronic clipboard, a complete electronic evi-
                         dentiary record would be maintained and be electronically retrievable at
                         any time up to and after a product is issued.


Benefits of Automating   Automated workpapers, using electronic files stored on network-
                         accessed file servers, would offer all certified users on-demand access to
This Process             the critical assignment documentation, summaries, and analyses neces-
                         sary to prepare workpapers, draft reports, and process these reports
                         through various levels of review. Automation would allow multiple
                         headquarters, site, and regional users from various physical locations to
                         gain read- and write-controlled access to common workpapers centrally
                         stored under the control of an information manager on an assignment.
                         To ensure security and safekeeping, these files would be automatically
                         backed up by the network administration staff. Automated workpapers
                         would also provide for a quicker review of workpapers and draft
                         reports, thereby facilitating analysis and comment.

                         We believe that by allowing all relevant assignment staff and managers
                         to have continual and better access to the growing evidentiary base ear-
                         lier in the assignment process, assignment timeliness and quality can be
                         improved. This access would improve the collective knowledge of what
                         has been learned on the assignment, thereby offering some assurance
                         that the job direction and report message are based on all pertinent
                         information collected. Assignment and issue area managers, in regional
                         offices, audit sites, and headquarters would have simultaneous, shared
                         access to evidence gathered in accordance with the approved method-
                         ology and work plan, and would be able to make better joint decisions on
                         how to best meet the milestones of the assignment and meet the audit
                         quality standards of the office.


                         Indexing our workpapers is one of the most critical functions in the per-
Indexing and             formance of our audit work. Workpaper indexes allow quick and com-
Referencing              plete access to the information contained in the documents we gather
                         and the analysis we perform. Because workpapers are quite voluminous,
                         access to data in them would be impossible without a good indexing
                         system.

                         Referencing is a significant quality control mechanism. Because the sub-
                         ject of our reports are often complex and based on information obtained
                          from a number of different sources, it is possible to make mist.akes.
                         Without independent review and verification of the report statements,


                         Page25
                             AppendixII
                             AssignmentConduct




                             these mistakes might not be identified before issuance of the report and
                             could result in serious consequences, GAO'Sreputation for accuracy
                             would suffer and, as a result, our ability to promote improvements in
                             government could be compromised.


Historical Perspective       Indexing has historically been a tedious manual process, At the start of
                             an audit the evaluator-in-charge of an assignment devises an indexing
                             system. The system generally uses a series of codes that help classify
                             the documents created or gathered during the course of an audit. These
                             characteristics include

                         l the   GAOunit performing the work;
                         . the   agency where the work is performed;
                         l the   type of workpaper (interview, analysis, agency document); and
                         . the   assignment objective addressed by the workpaper.

                             The referencing process has historically also been a manual process that
                             is time-consuming and, like indexing, quite tedious. The referencing pro-
                             cess begins with the report author noting workpaper indexes for each
                             line of the report. A staff member who has not participated in the
                             assignment is then selected as the refereneer, and is responsible for
                             reviewing each cited workpaper and determining if it supports the state-
                             ment in the report. If the referencer decides that the support is not ade-
                             quate, the report author must either add new support, clarify the
                             support already provided! or change the report to accurately reflect
                             what is in the workpapers.

                             The indexing and referencing procedures have served us well over the
                             years but they have some drawbacks. First, we often have a number of
                             issues on an assignment,, which necessitates extensive, time-consuming
                             indexing and cross-indexing between various workpapers. Second, it is
                             very time-consuming to review multiple workpapers that are cross-
                             indexed in support of a point. Third, because of the tedious nature of the
                             indexing and cross-indexing process, it is sometimes not done in a thor-
                             ough manner. Finally, referencing is extremely tedious work, and
                             although staff are always thorough in performing the function because
                             of its critical importance to GAO'Sreport quality, it is inordinately time-
                             consuming and frustrating.


Activities to Date           Over the last year, staff in the San Francisco Regional Office, the unit
                             responsible for developing this application, automated all the


                             Page26
                    AppendixII
                    AssigumentConduct




                    workpapers on a review of indirect medical education. The workpapers
                    were stored on-line and were indexed using the Data General Compre-
                    hensive Electronic Office filing and keyword software. Documents gath-
                    ered from the agency being audited were not scanned and stored
                    electronically but an index of them was created and stored on the Data
                    General.

                    To develop the referencing portion of the application, the SFROstaff per-
                    formed a referencing test on a segment of a workpaper summary. The
                    results were encouraging in that it showed that accessing electronically
                    stored workpapers was much quicker than accessing hand written or
                    typed workpapers. The only difficulty experienced with using electroni-
                    cally stored workpapers was moving back and forth between
                    workpapers if two or more sources were given in support of a statement
                    in a report. Nonetheless, the test demonstrated the feasibility and prac-
                    ticality of storing, indexing, and retrieving workpapers electronically.


Requireme nts       The requirements for indexing and referencing are simple. We must be
                    able to quickly find all pertinent and relevant workpapers that address
                    assignment issues and topics. Evaluators, when preparing to write a
                    report or summarize their work, need to be able to review all
                    workpapers that relate to their topic so it can be thoroughly addressed.
                    Referencers need to have the same access to the workpapers so that
                    they can ensure that what is written is supported by the workpapers.

                    Specific requirements we identified for indexing and referencing include

                l the option to predefine a set of keywords for search purposes,
                + a directory of keywords that can be searched and used to automatically
                  index workpapers,
                l the ability to search workpapers quickly to identify index linkages not
                  preset as keywords,
                l the ability to access all keyword-linked workpapers at the same time for
                  purposes of reviewing multiple references,
                l the ability to do hypertext searches through assignment workpaper data
                  bases, and
                l the ability to quickly change keyword linkages if there is a change in the
                  direction or objectives of an assignment.




                    Page27
                          AppendixII
                          AssignmentConduct




Benefits of A utomating   GAOcan achieve tremendous benefits through automation in the areas of
                          referencing and indexing. We could achieve more thorough indexing and
This Process              cross-indexing and have faster access to the workpapers for both the
                          audit team and the referencer. This capability would both improve the
                          quality of our products and reduce the frustration felt by the staff in
                          performing these functions.

                          Using the process, the referencer would have instant access, via a com-
                          puter terminal, to all workpapers supporting a report. The specific sec-
                          tions of the supporting document would be highlighted and related to
                          the section of the report it supports. The referencer’s decision whether
                          to accept the document as proper support or to identify a need for addi-
                          tional support would be entered electronically, and the staff would
                          respond electronically. Overall, the process would be made more effi-
                          cient and timely, and product quality would be improved since all rele-
                          vant workpapers supporting the report could be easily accessed.


                          The report review process is a significant and critical component of our
Report Review and         assignment conduct. During this time our products receive detailed scru-
Processing                tiny to ensure they are of high quality and in accordance with GAOpoli-
                          cies. This process covers the period during which a draft product
                          undergoes various levels, and often multiple iterations, of divisional and
                          nondivisional review by staff outside of the assignment. Reviewers
                          include division and region management, report review staff, writer-edi-
                          tors, attorneys, and others who examine the product for appropriate-
                          ness of overall message, adequacy of supporting evidence, grammatical
                          correctness and other quality standards.


Historical Perspective    Traditionally, the report review process has been satisfied through a
                          detailed review of the product, commenting by reviewers, and consolida-
                          tion of comments by assignment staff, processing of administrative
                          forms, and tracking of product status through telephone calls or per-
                          sonal visits. These manual processes are time-consuming and have
                          placed a significant burden on evaluators who must shepherd a product
                          through to completion.

                          The specific steps included in the report review process include first
                          stage edit, preliminary review, obtaining agency comments, final review
                          and coordination with other GAOunits, and final processing. During each
                          stage the product is usually reviewed by more than one person, usually
                          sequentially, and requires several iterations to ensure all comments are


                          Page28
                     AppendixII
                     AssignmentConduct




                     addressed, The assignment team is responsible for collating, responding
                     to, and incorporating comments made by the various reviewers.


Activities to Date   During the past year, we used various means to identify and, where
                     practical, acquire software to test for applicability to report review and
                     processing. For example, early in fiscal year 1990, GAOissued a Request
                     for Information for “groupware” applications, which allowed us to
                     obtain software for evaluation and test purposes. Groupware is
                     software that helps groups of workers, mostly professionals, control
                     their workflow and manage their work content.

                     We also reviewed an Office of Policy report on assignment automation
                     that included a review of group productivity software. This included
                     information on (1) group/team writing, (2) group memory management,
                     (3) group conferencing, (4) group scheduling and tracking, and (5) E-
                     mail (which we are currently pursuing).

                     In addition, we reviewed numerous professional and technical publica-
                     tions for applications that have potential for meeting our system needs,
                     and we identified several potential applications to test for usefulness to
                     our work processes.

                     We have developed procedures and a data collection instrument for
                     evaluation of the various products identified and any additional prod-
                     ucts we select for implementation and evaluation. The data collection
                     instrument will allow us to collect from the users the necessary informa-
                     tion for consistent and thorough evaluation of all software application
                     products.


Req,uirements        The report review and processing phase of our work needs to be done
                     quickly and efficiently. The Congress should not be expected to wait
                     weeks or months after our data gathering efforts are concluded to
                     receive our reports. Managers who are responsible for product review
                     need quick, simultaneous access to drafted reports if they are to expe-
                     dite this process. They need the ability to search for supporting data, if
                     necessary, to check on a statement’s relevance and propriety. Their com-
                     ments, in turn, need to be quickly transferred back to the job staff for
                     action. In addition, a more efficient mechanism for handling the admin-
                     istrative forms, which track a report through final processing, is needed
                     to alleviate the time-consuming manual tasks now in place.



                     Page29
    AppendixII
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    On the basis of our experience in fiscal year 1990, we identified several
    basic requirements that must be satisfied by any system we develop or
    implement in GAO:

. Users at any level of technical competence should be able to access the
  system and move between functions with great ease and minimum
  formal training. For example, a user should not be required to perform a
  long series of keystrokes or steps to move from WordPerfect to elec-
  tronic mail, and back. Also, the method of access to the system and its
  capabilities should be the same, regardless of the user’s location. (We
  often refer to this as “full membership*’ on the network.)
. The system must be flexible enough to accommodate those instances
  where methods or processes cannot be standardized. Within GAO, the
  report review process, and assignment conduct in general, varies
  between organizational units. Also, the nature of assignments, deadlines,
  management styles, and other factors have considerable effect on how
  the report review process is handled.
. Electronic transfer of documents through electronic mail could dramati-
  cally improve the flow of products through the report review phase. The
  benefits of these features are most significant where staff who are not
  collocated must communicate and share information, such as at audit
  sites and regional offices. One specific example involves communications
  between GAO headquarters and the San Francisco Regional Office. The
  time difference makes communication between these sites inconvenient
   at best. Using electronic system features, a staff member in San Fran-
   cisco can mail a document for review along with a message to a head-
  quarters staff member late in the business day. The message or file will
   be immediately available to the headquarters staff member early the
   following morning, and well before the start of the business day in San
   Francisco.

    We also were able to identify more specific requirements that relate
    directly to report review and processing:

. Any system acquired by GAO should support writing tools and other
  related software for use by evaluators. Software for spell checking,
  grammar checking, document comparison, and co-authoring can assist
  evaluators in producing higher quality drafts. Many of these packages
  can be customized to check documents for specific GAO format and style.
  Subsequently, reports submitted for report review would require fewer
  modifications.




    Page30
                                                                        -
    Appendix11
    AssignmentConduct




. It is imperat.ive that the system allow comparison of several documents
  and access to supporting data during the review process. This require-
  ment can be accomplished through a split screen or windows environ-
  ment, where more than one document can be simultaneously displayed
  on a computer screen. Although we have identified this feature as a
  requirement for report review, it would be useful throughout the assign-
  ment process. For example, much of the work in preparing a report
  involves extracting and merging data and text from multiple source do<:-
  uments. We need the ability to easily extract and merge data from mul-
  tiple files into a final product,, Moreover, when referencing products,
  staff members examine evidence that is often in multiple formats.
  Simultaneous display of documents would allow them to accomplish this
  task wit,h greater ease.
l Many stages of rcyort review are or can bc satisfied through concurrent
  review of a product by multiple reviewers. An easy-to-use electronic
  mail system can support this process by allowing quick and easy move-
  ment of a document, through the various review stages. Shared filing can
  provide reviewers with access to supporting documentation in addition
  to the product, under review. Together, these features can provide
  assignment. staff with a means of collecting and maintaining an audit
  trail of reviewer c0mmcnt.s.
l I)ocument-comparison software could also provide a quick way for
  assignment staff to identify differences between two documents, It
  would display or print summaries of document differences, which could
  be beneficial when collecting and processing reviewer comments.
. Staff should have access to real-time information on the progress of
  products in review. Once a product has been submitted for report
  review, assignment staff and others must track its status through tele-
  phone calls and personal visits. Tracking is time-consuming and can be
  costly if it involves 10~1 travel. To improve this process, a system to
  track, document. and provide information on the status of a product as
  it is processed through the review cycle is needed. This system would
  also provide valuable information on time frames, which would help to
  analyze and streamline the report review process.
l Automated review and commenting software would allow easy consoli-
  dation of all comments from reviewers and provide an audit trail of
  these comments. In discussions with users, we have learned that diffi-
  culties and bottlenecks often occur in consolidating and incorporating
  reviewer comments. For example, it is not unusual for multiple
  reviewers to have comments on the same portion of a draft product,
  which leaves the assignment staff responsible for resolving conflicting
  comments.



    Page31
                           AppendixI1
                           AssignmentConduct




                         . Evaluators are required to complete a myriad of paperwork to process a
                           report, including internal routing forms, external coordination forms,
                           report distribution forms, and so on. The use of specialized forms auto-
                           mation and network-based data base management software would allow
                           us to capture, process, and provide real-time information that could
                           facilitate the processing of our reports.


Benefits of Automating     The potential benefits of automating the report review process include     1
                           increased productivity by reducing the time a product spends in the pro-   I
This Process               cess and reduced frustration by providing staff with timely information    I
                           on the status of their draft reports. Automation would also improve the    j
                           quality of our reports by providing staff with writing tools to assist     //
                           them with report preparation. Ultimately, the Congress will benefit by
                           receiving our work on a more timely basis.                                 1
                                                                                                      /




                           Page32
Appendix III                      ~-

Job and Unit Management


                         The individual job assignment, whether it be an audit, program evalua-
                         tion, or compliance review is the principle means for meeting GAO'S mis-
                         sion objectives. Numerous individuals are involved in job management,
                         including the evaluator-in-charge who manages the day-to-day tasks
                         being performed to achieve our assignment objectives, an assistant
                         director who has cognizant responsibility for the assignment and
                         ensures office policy is followed, and the issue-area director who is
                         responsible for integrating the assignment into an overall work plan.
                         Managing these assignments requires that job managers be well-
                         informed about an assignment’s status so their decisions can be relevant
                         and timely. There is a constant need to maintain up-to-date knowledge
                         to ensure that proper job direction is provided and the numerous admin-
                         istrative forms required throughout the assignment are completed.

                         Unit managers typically fill such roles as assistant director, issue-area
                         director, director for operations and director for planning and reporting.
                         They are responsible for directing large blocks of related work, or for
                         directing the activities of a work unit, region or division. They require
                         timely access to accurate information on such issues as job performance
                         and progress, budget status, and training needs.

                         IJnder the Shared Kesources Project, we identified and evaluated ways
                         to electronically collect and disseminate the information necessary to
                         manage both a unit and specific assignments. We found that in a
                         networked environment we can improve the quality of, and access to,
                         information that managers need in order to be effective in performing
                         their tasks.


Historical Perspective   In the current GAO environment, both assignment and unit management
                         is dependent on paper and on communication. In planning and initiating
                         an assignment, a number of administrative forms need to be prepared
                         and forwarded through various levels of review. As an assignment pro-
                         ceeds, its status is tracked through additional administrative forms that
                         provide information on staff-day usage, cost,, and milestones. These
                         forms must also go through a number of reviews throughout the organi-
                         zation. To update these forms with current information, evaluators-in-
                         charge and assistant directors need to solicit, information from the
                         various staff on the assignment. This process becomes more tedious and
                         cumbersome if assignment staff are located in a regional office or at a
                         remote audit site. In these instances, making contact with staff while
                         playing “phone tag” is very time-consuming and frustrating.



                         Page33
                     AppendixIII
                     Job and Unit Management




                     IJnit management incurs similar constraints but on a much broader
                     scale. Although many of the divisions now have automated management,
                     information systems, they are still dependent on relevant information
                     obtained from staff to prepare the various forms for input. In addition,
                     many issue-area directors need to track staff and assignments at various
                     remote audit sites, both locally and across the nation. Their ability to get
                     timely and relevant information is dependent on how easily they can
                     make contact with the appropriate staff. This process becomes particu-
                     larly demanding if staff are located in different time zones.


Activities to Date   Within the units participating in the Shared Resources Project, the net-
                      work has become an important, necessary tool to manage the day-to-day
                     operations involved in running a division and in managing the substan-
                     tive needs of individual assignments. The network has greatly enhanced
                     job and unit managers’ ability to monitor projects and communicate with
                      staff, although these functions were not specified within the project,
                      and has generally made many of their operations more efficient.

                     In responding to a questionnaire     we provided to staff in the three partic-
                     ipating units, at least 70 percent   of the management level officials who
                     responded stated they increased      the quality of their work by using the
                     network. Over 80 percent stated      the timeliness of their work increased,
                     as well.

                     During the past year, seven different assignments used the network
                     under the Shared Resources Project to perform specific job tasks.
                     Included in these assignments were staff from two headquarters divi-
                     sions, three regional offices, and various remote audit sites. In addition,
                     several managers in the Human Resources Division and the Resources,
                     Community, and Economic D<lvclopmcnt Division used the network to
                     perform various managerial functions.

                     Benefits that enhanced communication and improved access among staff
                     at all levels appeared immediately. One issue area director stated that
                     the message feature was “a significant, invaluable tool and essential for
                     operations.” It greatly improved their ability to exchange information,
                     and the ability to forward messages and send copies saved considerable
                     time. Some directors believe an electronic message feature can flatten
                     out the organization because it gives everyone direct access to everyone
                     else who is on the system.




                     Page34
               AppendixIII
               Job andUnit Management




               As a management tool, the network also allowed managers to have
               immediate access to workpapers regardless of location. This feature
               expedited their review and saved the cost of copying the material and
               physically sending it in for review. Assignment managers used the net-
               work to transmit quickly to division management the paperwork initi-
               ating an assignment, and in turn were able to receive approval much
               faster to begin the assignment. They also used the network to send in
               survey results and implementation-phase paperwork for quicker review
               and approval.

               Division management also found it invaluable to send, for review and
               approval through the division, the various administrative forms that are
               required on a daily basis, such as OCR memos and job-start paperwork.
               Virtually all unit managers we spoke with stated how they use the net-
               work daily to conduct either some or all of their work. The message fea-
               ture also improved their ability to respond quickly and more efficiently
               to various job inquiries from top officials. One issue-area director stated
               that the message feature alone has cut down his phone calls by 50 per-
               cent and that he now only receives “crisis calls.” Other directors noted
               that the network eliminates the need to watch the clock when dealing
               with regional staff, because they can contact them at any time to relay
               important information. They also stated how regional office staff were
               able to keep division management informed about the work they were
               doing, which in turn helped expedite decisions on specific assignments.

               Other managers used the calendar feature of the network to schedule
               both their meetings and absences. This allowed their staff to know their
               availability at any point in time.

___-
Requirements   During the past year, assignment and unit managers in the participating
               units have come to rely on the network to perform various managerial
               functions in a more timely and efficient manner. However, by incorpo-
               rating the network into their daily routine they were also able to iden-
               tify limitations in the system that hampered their work. These
               limitations have, in turn. helped us to identify requirements that assign-
               ment and unit managers believe are necessary to achieve a fully opera-
               tional, networked system.

               In general, for the network to be effective, there must be “full member-
               ship” for all staff. That is, all staff must have direct access to the net-
               work and communication must be fast and without interruption, The



               Page35
                             Appendh III
                             Job and Unit Management




                             network interface also needs to be intuitive so that learning new func-
                             tions on the system is easy.

                             To enhance specific assignment and unit management operations, staff
                             using the network should have the ability to

                         * transfer multiple files quickly and easily with the ability to merge files
                           among different job codes;
                         . use keyword and string searching to access supporting documentation;
                         . bring files up on to the screen for review and comment without having
                           to download the file from the system;
                         . review workpapers and important documentation concurrently from
                           various locations;
                         . communicate quickly and easily through an E-mail function with other
                           staff both locally and, more importantly, at remote locations;
                         . access all workpaper files through a clearance procedure tied to a staff
                           member’s position, which will prevent certain sensitive documents from
                           being obtained by unauthorized staff; and
                         . track supervisory reviews and the required follow-ups to ensure that
                           the audit work being performed is of high quality.


Benefits of Automating       1Jnder the Shared Resources Project, GAO is moving to a networked envi-
This Process                 ronment that will dramatically improve the sharing of information and
                             substantially improve the management of our work. Not only will very
                             labor-intensive phases be supplemented with new information tech-
                             nology, but currently automated processes, such as Management Infor-
                             mation Systems, will be made far more comprehensive and efficient.

                             In a network environment, managers will have ready access to relevant
                             information, be able to prepare automated administrative forms at their
                             individual workstations, share and send this information to all appro-
                             priate staff, communicate more effectively with various staff and man-
                             agement officials, and respond quickIy to inquiries on training needs,
                             assignment costs, and other work relat.ed issues. By having this access,
                             productivity can be enhanced both on specific assignments and in unit
                             operations.

                             Specifically, a fully integrated network can provide

                         l   the ability to integrate information systems into the network so that job
                             managers can have immediate access to the information necessary to
                             track their assignments;


                             Page36
    AppendixIll
    Job and Unit Management




l access to managers for assignment tracking systems;
. quick access to eIectronically generated documents, such as workpapers,
  for review;
. improved access to other managers and staff through a greatly
  enhanced communications link;
l data bases that can be shared on such issues as training, awards, etc;
  and
l access for staff to many different .kinds and sources of data such as the
  Health Information System or Energy data bases.

    Supervisory oversight, at all levels, would also be increased by the net-
    work since supervisors would have immediate access to the work being
    done (if done electronically). The supervisor could monitor progress and
    quickly take any needed corrective actions.

    Under the Shared Resources Project, we are moving to a networked
    environment that will allow us to make substantial improvements in
    managing the substance of our work, Not only will the very labor-inten-
    sive phases of our work be supplemented with new information tech-
    nology, but currently automated processes, such as Management
    Information Systems, will be made far more comprehensive and
    efficient.

    In a network environment, managers will have ready access to relevant
    information, be able to prepare automated administrative forms at their
    individual workstations, share and send this information to all appro-
    priate staff, communicate more effectively with various staff and man-
    agement officials, and respond quickly to inquiries on training needs,
    assignment costs, and other work issues. In the end, productivity will be
    enhanced, and the management of both specific assignments and unit
    operations will become more efficient and effective.




    Page37
App’endix IV

Network Configuration, Management
and security

                             In November 1989, GAOinitiated the Shared Resources Project to iden-
                             tify methods of improving the way we do our work through automation.
                             A system of local and wide area networks provided a vehicle for devel-
                             oping, testing, and evaluating new mission-related applications. The pro-
                             ,ject was not intended to test the benefits of using a local area network,
                             or to test the specific network that GAOhad in place. However, as the
                             project staff worked in a network environment during the past year, we
                             came to better understand the strengths and limitations of networking
                             in general, and of the particular configuration GAOwas using. We also
                             gained an education in related operational issues, including network
                             management and security. These experiences have helped us more accu-
                              rately define the technical and operating requirements of a GAO-wide
                              network.


                             The network consists of five elements
Network
Configuration            . system equipment (hardware), including the most appropriate type of
                           workstations, file servers, printers, and other peripherals (i.e., scanners,
                           back-up devices, etc.);
                         . a network operating system (software), including the user interface and
                           basic file storage and handling functions;
                         l telecommunications (cabling), including the method of network access
                           (e.g., hard-wired or dial-up) and the speed of response;
                         . security, including methods of controlling access and safeguarding the
                           equipment and files; and
                         l management, including operational monitoring, technical support, and
                           maintenance.

                             These components are intrinsically   intertwined to provide a vehicle for
                             automated group applications.

--~                                           -_
Historical Perspective       GAO’Suse of personal computer technology has grown and evolved
                             steadily because of industry advances and an ever-improving view of
                             our automated needs. GAObegan using personal computers in 1982 to
                             satisfy word-processing needs. Microcomputers, capable of performing a
                             variety of automated functions, were integrated into the work place in
                             1984 and eventually replaced the single-function word processors.
                             Today, the use of microcomputers to meet daily job requirements has




                             Page38
                           AppendixIV
                           NetworkConfiguratiou,Management
                           andSecurity




                           become commonplace.1 Complex data analysis and even report produc-
                           tion has been assisted by the use of stand-alone microprocessors. How-
                           ever, since sharing and consolidating information is a fundamental
                           aspect of our work, staff proficiency in using automated tools in a stand-
                           alone environment quickly became a constraint rather than an advan-
                           tage. The efficiencies of using microcomputers to complete assignments
                           were reduced by the need to share information through a “sneaker net-
                           work” (i.e., hand carried). Our current focus has naturally shifted to a
                           means of connecting users in an automated environment.


Objectives                 Improved work quality and timeliness are GAO’sultimate goals; automa-
                           tion simply provides a potential means to that end. Networking, in turn,
                           promises improvements to stand-alone automated applications. If our
                           goal is to travel from point A to point B, automation provides a possible
                           road to travel on. That road can be a two-lane highway (i.e., stand-alone
                           microcomputers), or a superhighway (i.e., an automated network). The
                           applications that are available on the network will ultimately provide
                           t,hc vehicles to reach our goals. However, those vehicles and the roads
                           on which we use them are necessarily interrelated. A better network
                           allows the development and use of stronger application tools. It is,
                           therefore, important to continually define and refine the appropriate
                           network for agencywide implementation.


Activities to Date     -
Installing a Network       In order to identify the proper requirements for an agencywide network
                           environment, we have studied local area networks in a systematic, con-
                           trolled manner. The San Francisco regional staff had experimented with
                           the use of a small local area network supported by a Data General 8000
                           minicomputer as early as January 1988. On the basis of this early suc-
                           cess, the Shared Resources Project expanded the trial structure in
                           November 1989 t,o include two headquarters units, the Human
                           Resources Division and the Resources, Community, and Economic Devel-
                           opment Division. These units were serviced by a Data General 20000
                           minicomputer and two remote audit sites, one at the Social Security
                           Administration, and the other at the Health Care Finance Administra-
                           tion, were serviced by a Data General 7800 minicomputer.


                           ‘According to a survey of Shared Resources Project staff, over 96 percent used microcomputers during
                           fwal year 1990 to wrform a portmn of their GAOduties.



                           Page39
                .


                           AppendixN
                           NetworkConfiguration,Management
                           and Security




                           The type of workstation and operating software used to access the net-
                           work varied among users. Although these differences created some dis-
                           advantages, they allowed us to identify system requirements that we
                           might not have observed otherwise. In San Francisco, 125 staff had
                           access to the local area network through a combination of personal
                           microcomputers and dedicated Data General terminals. Depending on
                           the equipment being used, operating software included CEO, CEO/Con-
                           nect, and Data General’s Personal Computer/Work Station (PCWS). For
                           the divisions, over 300 staff had access to the local area network
                           through microcomputers which were directly connected to the network
                           (i.e., “hard-wired”). An additional 700 accounts were established for
                           users to “dial-in” to the network from remote locations through
                           modems. This latter group included staff outside the pilot divisions who
                           were working on division assignments. Here again, a mixture of CEO/
                           Connect and PCWS software provided user interface, depending on the
                           equipment.

                           Communication links also varied. Hard-wired users were linked to the
                           network through an Ethernet 802.3 architecture. Data transmissions
                           occur at a speed approximating 9600 baud. Dial-up users gained access
                           to the network through modems and the use of terminal emulation
                           software. Their transmission speed was controlled by the limits of their
                           workstation’s modem-either     1200 or 2400 baud. The individual min-
                           icomputers, which act as file and communication servers for their
                           respective user populations, are capable of communicating with each
                           other through the Tymnet communication network. Communication
                           between servers occurs at 9600 baud.

Identifping Requirements   A number of early operational problems arose in implementing this net-
                           work. User access was unreliable, operation was erratic, and function-
                           ality was inconsistent. Shared Resources Project staff expended
                           considerable effort to isolate the sources of the deficiencies. Indepen-
                           dent consultants were also brought in to identify the causes of system
                           inadequacies. We determined that the network was in compliance with
                           the 802.3 standards for Ethernet, which ruled out cabling as the source
                           of the problem. We also ruled out workstation hardware as the impeding
                           factor. [Jltimately, we determined that the Data General environment
                           itself contained several impediments, both hardware and software
                           related, to fully meeting our needs. As a result of this diagnostic work,
                           the project team documented 30 functional requirements for a future
                           agencywide system. The requirements cover general areas as well as
                           specific applications that GAO requires to meet its mission. We further



                           Page40
                          AppendixN
                          NetworkConfiguration,Management
                          audSecurity




                          determined that the current Data General environment was not capable
                          of satisfying several of these mandatory requirements.


What We Have Learned So   The Shared Resources Project has contributed significantly to GAO'S
                          understanding of the hardware and software requirements for an
Fal                       agencywide network. In addition, we have gained valuable knowledge in
                          defining our needs in operational areas such as network management
                          and security. While our network requirements cover a broad range of
                          issues, it is clear that the network’s value is closely related to two fac-
                          tors - access on demand and ease of use.

Access on Demand          Staff must have network access on demand. This requires that appro-
                          priate workstations, telecommunications links, and network processors
                          be available whenever needed. The frustrations and inefficiencies of
                          accessing the network through a workstation that is shared with other
                          users or physically located away from a user’s normal work area are
                          significant enough to discourage its use. In fact, 30 percent of the
                          Shared Resources Project staff who do not. have workstations dedicated
                          to their use failed to use the LAN during the past year. This number com-
                          pares with only 13 percent of those who have dedicated access to a
                          workstation. In response to our survey of LAN use, the most common
                          concern expressed (by a 4-to-l margin) was the lack of workstations to
                          access the network. This problem can be solved with a workstation-to-
                          staff ratio of 1 to 1.

                          Closely related to the need for workstations is the need for a continually
                          available link to the network. This need specifically concerns users who
                          “dial-up” the network through modems. Since the modem requires a
                          connection to a telephone line, it is currently common for staff to have
                          to disconnect a voice line to use with the workstation. This ties up the
                          voice line for the period of network use. At many locations a telephone
                          line may be shared by several staff, so using a workstation can restrict
                          the communications of more than just the network user.

                          Access on demand also requires system availability 24-hours a day,
                          seven days a week. Given a workstation and a communication link (i.e.,
                          a telephone line}, the network must be operational whenever staff
                          attempt to access it. Ideally, the system should maintain a reliability
                          level near 100 percent. Practically, the system must deal with periodic
                          failures without disabling the entire network. Extensive or frequent
                          downtime caused by equipment failures, backup functions, or system
                          maintenance procedures interferes with users’ ability to complete their


                          Page41
              AppendixIV
              NetworkConfiguration,Management
              andSecurity




              work. This interference, in turn, prompts users to avoid or limit their
              use of the network. When asked why they would choose to complete
              automated activities in a stand-alone rather than a networked environ-
              ment, 16 percent of respondents cited poor system reliability as a factor.

              Providing continual access means having a system with built-in backup
              capacity and an ability to segregate system failures and minimize their
              effects on users. The current configuration concentrates users on a few
              high-powered servers. This means that a system failure affects large
              numbers of users. When a server is down, users must wait for it to be
              repaired before regaining network access. Even routine maintenance
              requires a complete shut-down of the server, thus blocking usage by
              that user community. An agencywide system must have the ability to
              shut down a portion of the system, while maintaining user access
              through other operating servers.

              Finally, all users must have equal access to the network. The current
              system creates functional differences between hard-wired users and
              those who dial into the system. In fact, because of system constraints
              and limitations on transmission speed, dial-in users currently have no
              access to the application programs, such as word processing and data
              analysis, that are available to hard-wired users. An agencywide network
              must provide full membership rights to all users, regardless of their
              method of access.

Ease of Use   This requirement was made clear by the current environment because of
              its highly proprietary nature. Although meeting basic Ethernet require-
              ments, the uncommon operating system did not function properly with
              many software applications developed for LAN use, and it proved com-
              plex to use. We attribute this complexity to the fact that the system was
              originally designed for minicomputer operations, and was not rede-
              signed for network use.

              File sharing and transfer is a good example of “ease of use” problems
              with the current network. While these functions were among the most
              valuable on the network, the file naming conventions and other unique
              system requirements made their use cumbersome. In some cases, docu-
              ments had to be moved between different computer systems when
              sharing data or transferring files. Transferring multiple documents, a
              common requirement, was also a difficult task. As a result, only 18 per-
              cent of those who used the network performed file sharing on a regular
              basis, and only 28 percent made regular use of the file transfer feature.



              Page42
                                        AppendixIV
                                        NetworkConfiguration,Management
                                        andSecurity




                                        Without a well-integrated system that is easy to use, staff become reluc-
                                        tant to use the full range of automated functions, and do not take full
                                        advantage of computers in their day-to-day operations. The ideal inte-
                                        grated system should enable the user to concentrate on auditing and
                                        evaluation tasks, while minimizing the effort needed to operate the com-
                                        puter system. The system should permit the user to switch easily
                                        between applications such as word processing, E-mail, and document.
                                        filing with a minimum of effort (two or three keystrokes).

                                        Ease of use also includes appropriate system responsiveness. Staff on
                                        the pilot experienced significant frustration waiting for menus to appear
                                        and functions to be executed. While these delays in themselves were not
                                        sufficient to impair the timeliness of the process being performed, the
                                        frustration they caused did. Staff would at times terminate functions
                                        they were performing because of the delays.

                                        On the basis of our experience with the PCWS and CEO menus, it
                                        appeared that response times under 2 seconds were satisfactory.’
                                        Though such delays are noticeable, they did not frustrate the operator.
                                        At this speed, staff did not discontinue using the automated system.
                                        Since communication links are one factor in determining response time,
                                        the network must have the telecommunication capability to support this
                                        level of responsiveness.

                                        In essence, an agencywide network should be standard. Network compo-
                                        nents must

                                    l conform to the formal standards developed by official bodies (e.g., IEEE
                                      802.3 standards);
                                    l be compatible with other hardware and software on the network so that
                                      users can interact easily; and
                                    . be within the mainstream of hardware and operating systems (i.e., de
                                      facto industry standards) so that the agency can benefit from third-
                                      party development efforts.

Neetl for a Distributed   Network       Many of our current problems with access and ease of use can be
                                        reduced by a fundamental change in the system configuration. Instead
                                        of the current centralized system, a distributed network would best meet



                                        “The 2-second response time should be waluated using a sample of staff tn determine if it is ade-
                                        quate.Some staff believe this criteria is too slow.


                                        Page43
                       AppendixN
                       NetworkConfiguration,Management
                       andSecurity




                       our operational requirements. This concept parallels GAO'S highly decen-
                       tralized organizational structure. Operating groups often work indepen-
                       dently of each other. GAO units investigate different areas, use different
                       methodologies and procedures, and require different tools. As a result,
                       they must be able to customize their network services to meet their
                       unique needs. A network of discrete segments, having an ability to pass
                       information throughout the entire network, will meet these needs.

                       A decentralized environment provides several other inherent benefits.
                       The presence of multiple servers within the overall network configura-
                       tion creates a level of built-in backup support. This support reduces the
                       impact of a server failure and minimizes network downtime. By con-
                       fining LAX segments to individual organizational entities, greater owner-
                       ship of the materials and system are created. In addition, an improved
                       understanding of network management requirements is gained.

                       In meeting this distributed scheme, we have learned that the “super
                       servers” that evolved out of microcomputer technology would provide a
                       stronger, more stable platform for an agencywide network than min-
                       icomputers. Minicomputers were not originally designed to act as
                       servers on networks using intelligent workstations. Rather, they were
                       developed to provide host support in a terminal environment, where the
                       central server contained all the intelligence and did all the work.
                       Although minicomputer servers now provide E-networking functions,
                       they bring with them a significant operating system overhead and inap-
                       propriate filing structures. Microcomputer super servers, on the other
                       hand, were designed for an environment in which intelligence is distrib-
                       uted throughout the network. As a result, they avoid the large overhead
                       found on minicomputers by using the power of the workstation as an
                       essential element in t.he total architecture. They provide, therefore, both
                       a richer and more flexible environment that allows for modular growth
                       on existing networks.


                       Ensuring adequate access, ease of use, and proper network growth
Network Management     requires continual network management. Our experiences have shown
                       that network management involves much more than we anticipated at
                       the outset. It is a full-time activity that should be separated from other
                       ob*jectives such as application development. In a complete sense, net-
                       work management is a complex series of interrelated tasks involving

                     9 planning and configuration development,
                     9 operating and procedures development,


                       Page44
                          AppendixIV
                          NetworkConfiguration,Management
                          andSecurity




--
                  l       performance monitoring and optimization,
                  l       troubleshooting,
                  l       maintenance,
                  l       end-user requirements definition,
                  l       selection and testing of new user tools, and
                  l
                          support of network operators and end users.

                          Because network management covers such a broad area, it requires a
                          staff with diverse skills. In addition to specialized skills in areas such as
                          telecommunications and capacity planning, network managers must
                          have good interpersonal skills because so much of their activity will
                          directly affect users. Adequate resources must be dedicated to this func-
                          tion. If the staffing level is not adequate, network services will be
                          reduced and end users will become frustrated and cease to use the
                          network.

                                                                                                  --
                          Since the network will contain sensitive data, it must conform to the
System Security           guidelines outlined in 4C~~81 (Public Availability of General Accounting
                          Office Records) and 4~~~83 (Privacy Procedures for Personnel Records).
                          Specifically, requirements include

                      . physical and fire protection for servers and major components,
                      l electrical conditioning for the servers,
                      n est,ablished back-up procedures,
                      l off-site storage for back-up copies of files and data,
                      . password protection for network access,
                      l administrative controls to purge staff who no longer access the network
                        or who may pose a security threat to it,
                      . access controls for files at the individual level, and
                      l protection from viruses.

                          The Shared Resources Project has also completed a four-step process for
                          addressing the computer security requirements of a GAO-wide network.
                          First, a network security plan was drafted and used to develop network
                          operating procedures. The project team then reviewed the security pro-
                          vided by the operating system a.nd application programs to determine
                          their adequacy. In March/April 1990 a formal security review was per-
                          formed by an outside contractor. Finally, GAOworked with security con-
                          sultants to develop protection from computer viruses. A GAO-wide
                          network must meet t,he security requirements identified through this
                          process.



                          Page45
                      Appendix N
                      NetworkConfiguration,Management
                      andSecurity




                      On the basis of the lessons we have learned during the past year, we
Current and Future    have taken several steps to improve progress toward a GAO-wide net-
Actions               work, including proposed changes in the technical configuration of the
                      network, network management, and central administration.


New Network           The GAOnetwork will move from a centralized structure that functions
                      as a single backbone, through a multiport repeater, to a decentralized
Configuration         system of discrete I,.~N segments. Each segment will employ its own
                      servers, backup devices, accounts, applications software, and network
                      management.

                      The current Data General minicomputers will be replaced as IAX servers
                      by 80386 microcomputers running a Novell operating system. Since
                      Novell currently covers about 60 percent of the network installations in
                      the industry, its hardware/software combination provides a high degree
                      of compatibility with a large number of application software products.
                      This combination will also provide a common user interface and func-
                      tionality regardless of how the user enters the network, whether
                      through a hard-wired or dial-up feature.


Network Management    To address the need for high-quality network management, GAOis in the
                      process of hiring a network manager who will have responsibility for all
                      network-related activities throughout the agency. This individual will
                      oversee the development of a formal requirements statement, the initia-
                      tion and completion of a procurement action, and the ultimate imple-
                      mentation of the agencywide system. Central administration of network
                      activities will also be moved from the Shared Resources I’roject team to
                      the network manager.


Standard and Policy   GAOrecognizes that implementing a high-performing computer network
                      requires more than selecting the correct equipment and application pro-
Setti.ng              grams The decentralized system being proposed permits unit flexibility
                      in the network operation. IIowever, a degree of central control is neces-
                      sary to ensure that users and data on individual LAN segments can
                      interact with other LAN segments. Representatives from various GAO
                      organizations have been brought together into a standards committee
                      for this purpose. Their role will be to establish agencywide parameters
                      that will ensure continuity among operating units. They will, where
                      appropriate, create common applications and procedures across the dis-
                      tributed network.


                      Page46
AppendixN
NetworkConfiguration,Management
andSecurity




In addition, we understand that implementation of the network will
define new ways of accomplishing our work. As a result, a wide range of
policy issues will certainly arise. Needed policies must be identified and
put in place as network implementation is occurring. To ensure that
policy issues are addressed in a timely manner, the Assistant Comp-
troller General for Policy is a member of the IRM Advisory Committee. In
addition, GAO'S Office of Policy has created and filled a new position of
Technical Policy Adviser to provide the needed technical expertise in
developing appropriate policies




Page47
Appendix V

Training




                         The ever-increasing complexity of GAO'S work requires us to continually
                         seek opportunities to expand our skills and to acquire new ones. We are
                         facing expanding challenges to conduct new kinds of work, use new
                         methods, contend with technological advances, and review complex gov-
                         ernment programs that address national issues. Keeping GAO'S training
                         in step with evolving computer technology and the changes resulting
                         from it is crucial to the success we achieve in meeting these challenges.
                         As a result, consideration of training needs is an important part of GAO'S
                         Shared Resources Project.


Historical Perspective   In the current environment, technical and information management
                         training is largely provided to GAO staff in the form of classroom
                         training, both internally and externally, Some of the inherent limitations
                         of this convention are: (1) individuals must schedule training, disrupt
                         their work, and sit through entire sessions which sometimes cover many
                         skills already possessed; (2) the instructor has to satisfy the training
                         needs of students with a wide diversity of expertise both in skill level
                         and learning ability; and (3) in many technical courses, especially
                         software applications {word processing, spreadsheet, data base) and
                         analytical process training, little-used features and procedures are
                         quickly forgotten.

                         Refresher training or brush-up of some sort is required when the need
                         for a skill arises in the course of a particular assignment. This training
                         disrupts work and slows productivity. GAO staff would rather have short
                         demonstrations of how to use an automated system and then be able to
                         practice on their own. On-line training, on-line help screens, “cheat” or
                         summary sheets, and a help line would enhance the staff’s ability to
                         improve existing skills or learn new ones.

                         We have taken a number of initiatives during recent years to ensure that
                         our staff stays responsive to the rapidly evolving nature of our work
                         and the skills required to do it. For example, we established the Training
                         Institute in May 1988, set up a curriculum advisory committee to keep
                         course content responsive to office needs, and made the director of the
                         Training Institute a member of the Information Resources Management
                         Steering Committee. We have also introduced computer technology in
                         noncomputer training (e.g., using microcomputers in writing or statistics
                         courses) and have provided specialized training for staff involved in
                         technical work such as information technology and accounting. In addi-
                         tion, we are exploring ways to greatly expand our self-paced training



                         Page48
                      AppendixU
                      Training




                      capability through a variety of modes including diskette, interactive
                      video, and tutorials.

                      These initiatives played an integral part in bringing information tech-
                      nology into the organization and have allowed us to enhance the overall
                      quality and productivity of GAO staff.

--
Activ ities to Date   Our experience during the pilot project has disclosed that users who (1)
                      encounter consistent difficulties accessing or using the network’s appli-
                      cations, (2) find it more difficult or time-consuming to use the network
                      over manual methods or a stand-alone microcomputer, and (3) have not
                      received timely training and need to refer to lengthy reference manuals,
                      experience a high degree of frustration. This frustration leads to reluc-
                      tance by some staff to use the network.

                      As a result, the Training Institute is developing a Training/Performance
                      Support System that will be an integral part of a shared-resource
                      processing environment. It will offer the potential to significantly
                      increase productivity by reducing the inherent frustration that often
                      accompanies removing staff from their work sites to be trained.

                      Training/Performance Support is a concept made possible by tech-
                      nology. A performance support system is an integrated electronic envi-
                      ronment that is available to, and easily accessible by, each employee. It
                      is structured to provide immediate, individualized, on-line access to the
                      full range of information, software, guidance, advice and assistance,
                      data, images, tools, and assessment and monitoring systems that help
                      employees perform their jobs with a minimum of support and interven-
                      tion by others. Users can enter the system either at the level of diffi-
                      culty needed for their work or at their personal level of expertise.

                      In the context of the Shared Resources Project a TraininglPerformancc
                      Support System will include all the support needed by an evaluator to
                      perform the full range of report processing and oversight. For example,
                      as part of an audit, evaluators would have immediately available at
                      their workstations information, examples, and aids on how to prepare
                      electronic workpapers, along with information on policies, processes,
                      and forms needed to perform that function properly.

                      During recent months, we validated our Training/Performance Support
                      System concept with pilot participants and potential users by inter-
                      viewing key players in the project divisions and cognizant offices. The


                      Page49
                         AppendixV
                         Training




                         validation process confirmed the basic elements of user support needed
                         to perform rudimentary audit work (e.g., processing reports). We also
                         observed training/performance support initiatives at other agencies and
                         organizations to obtain the benefits of their experience in that area, In
                         addition, we reviewed pertinent literature, and had vendors demon-
                         strate software applications that were generic to the concept.


Activities Planned       During fiscal year 1991, we plan to design and prototype a
                         “breadboard” Training/Performance Support System. We will take the
                         key functional requirements (e.g., workpapers, report processing, etc.)
                         developed by the other project members and build a prototype Training/
                         Performance Support System around each of them. Ideally, each key
                         functional requirement (and related elements of GAOaudit work) will be
                         systematically integrated with an easy-to-use interface.

                         This development effort will focus on automated workpapers, indexing,
                         report processing, forms, reference manuals, computer-based training,
                         key indicators, job tracking, and other areas, Applications that help us
                         perform our audit work will receive top priority. Feasibility, cost, and
                         technology will influence our priorities.

                         A key to the success of this aspect of the project will be the integration
                         of the shared-resource applications and on-line assistance/help with an
                         easy-to-understand and use interface. This interface must allow users to
                         move quickly and easily between any application and its associated
                         support.

                         Following this prototype we will install the Training/Performance Sup-
                         port System on the project network to further validate and refine the
                         system. This investment will, in turn, allow GAOto prepare specifica-
                         tions for future int,egration of this technology in a GAo-wide network.


Requirements             Components needed for a fully integrated Training/Performance     Sup-
                         port System include:

                     l    Data bases holding the data a person needs or will manipulate in doing a
                         job. These include

                         traditional data bases such as numbers, graphs, libraries, and other
                         data;



                         Page60
               AppendixV
               Training




               text data bases, including on-line documentation such as procedures,
               policy and product information, concepts and explanations, glossaries,
               commands, and stored images of text relevant to the job (studies,
               reports, etc.);

               visual data bases, including libraries of pictures, schematics, graphics,
               maps, and full-motion video, to provide information or to serve as
               models, representative images, reference points, and so forth; and

               audio data bases with libraries of sounds and word sequences, and
               music in a form that can be heard and understood by people.

           l Information services, such as LEGIS.
           . Interactive productivity software including spreadsheets, text proces-
             sors, task-specific interactive job aids, and so on.
           l Applications software to perform specific job tasks or functions (e.g.,
             automated work papers, indexing, report review, management reporting
             systems, and case systems).
           l Expert or artificial intelligence systems for problem structuring, deci-
             sion support, analysis, and diagnosis.
           l Help systems that are user or system initiated, context sensitive and
             inquiry based, or intelligent. Help systems can include explanations,
             demonstrations, advice, and alternatives.
           l Interactive training programs that permit self-directed or structured
             learning experiences, which are task related and flexible.
           l Assessment systems that permit evaluation of knowledge or skills for
             either task performance or assessing employee competence.
           . Feedback and monitoring systems that can inform users about the
             appropriateness of their actions (e.g., error messages and related
             instructions), or track user activity to determine whether assistance is
             needed.
           n A user interface that provides user-defined access to the above compo-
             nents in a straightforward and consistent way, and that permits the
             integration of relevant components so that a meaningful and whole con-
             text is provided for the user.


Benefits       An integrated Training/Performance Support System at an employee
               workstation has enormous implications for enhancing staff perform-
               ance. Such a system could greatly reduce some on-the-job training by
               bringing the experience and expertise of the most skilled performer to
               all, thereby permitting staff with limited knowledge to successfully per-
               form a job with minimal assistance. With performance support, learning


               Page51
    AppendixV
    TYaining




    is driven and controlled by the user’s information needs-needs that are
    directly related to job demands By placing the responsibility for
    learning in the user’s hands, it automatically accommodates his or her
    learning style and learning level.

    Some of the specific benefits that would be realized under an opera-
    tional Training/Performance Support System are:

. enhanced user productivity     as a result of fewer disruptions in work,
l better quality of work through easy access to job aids,
. training tailored to individual and job needs,
. easier and more timely access to training, and
0 consistent quality of training.

    A fuliy automated, shared-resource processing environment using a
    local/wide area network, will not only change the way we train our staff
    but also greatly expand GAO'S ability to deliver training and provide net-
    work user support. We beiieve the potentials of an agencywide network
    are great. Changes in training methodologies can improve network user
    competence and also improve productivity substantively.




    Page52
Appendix VI

Analysis of User Questimnabe


                                   As part of our evaluation methodology, we sent out an extensive ques-
                                   tionnaire (see appendix VII) to aI staff in the three units participating
                                   in the Shared Resources Project - the Human Resources Division; the
                                   Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division; and the
                                   San Francisco Regional Office. The purpose of this questionnaire was to
                                   obtain information on local area network (LAN) usage, performance, and
                                   impact on job and management performance. To encourage candid
                                   answers, we did not identify individual respondents. In addition, to
                                   expedite the preparation and analysis of the data, we limited the
                                   response period to ten days. This appendix contains our analysis of the
                                   questionnaire responses.

                                   A total of 558 questionnaires, from a population of 905 staff, were
                                   returned prior to the established cut-off date for a response rate of 61.7
                                   percent. Of these respondents, 23 were eliminated because they had
                                   recently joined their GAO unit and had 3 months or less experience with
                                   the LAN. As a result, our analyses are based on a maximum respondent
                                   universe of 535.:]


Figure 1: SRP User Questionnaire
Response Rate
                                                                                          NON-RESPONSES




                                          38.3%


                                                                                          RESPONSES




                                   “Since not all users were required to answer all questions, the respondent universe will vary some-
                                   what for each analysis.



                                   Page   53
                                            AppendixVI
                                            Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Use of Microcomputers                       Use of microcomputers among the questionnaire respondents was very
                                            high. A total of ,517, or 96.6 percent, reported that they used a
                                            microcomputer during FY 1990 to perform at least some of their job
                                            tasks. Only 18 respondents (3.4 percent) indicated they did not use a
                                            microcomputer at all during the year.


Figure 2: Staff Using Microcomputers   in
FY 1990 to Perform GAO Duties
                                            Percent
                                            100




                                             50


                                             60




                                                      YES   NO




                                            Page54
                                          AppendixVI
                                          Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Use of the Local Area                     Use of the local area network was also high among the respondent popu-
Network                                   lation. Although SRP staff had a choice of operating their microcom-
                                          puters in a stand-alone environment or as a part of the local area
                                          network, 407 staff (78.8 percent) who said they used a microcomputer
                                          during FY 1990, indicated they used the network in performing at least
                                          a portion of their job tasks. The remaining 110 microcomputer users did
                                          not use the network during the year.


Figure 3: Staff Using LAN in FY 1990 to
Perform GAO Duties
                                          100   Percent




                                                YES       NO




                                          Page55
                                           AppendixVI
                                           Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Frequency of LAN Use                       Staff used the LAN to varying degrees during the past year. We grouped
                                           the 517 respondents to this question into three categories. Regular users
                                           are those who indicated they used the network for 50 percent or more of
                                           their activity. Occasional users employed the network for less than 50
                                           percent of their activity; non-users never used the LAN during the past
                                           year.


Figure 4: Frequency   of LAN Use for All
Users8
                                                                                  NEVER
                                                    I




                                                                                  REGULAR




                                                             -                    OCCASIONAL




                                           Page56
                                      Appendix   VI
                                      Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Factors Impacting on LAN              While some staff have equipment assigned to them on a full-time basis,
                                      current inventory levels require other staff to share workstations. We
Use
                                      found that 30 percent of staff who had a microcomputer located in their
                                      own office made regular use of the LAN, compared to 16 percent of those
                                      having to share a workstation in a common area.


Figure 5: Frequency of LAN Use When
Workstation is in User’s Office
                                                  7                         NEVER




                                                                            REGULAR




                                                      I                     OCCASIONAL



Figure 6: Frequency of LAN Use When
Workstation is in a Common Area
                                                                            NEVER
                                             I


                                                                            REGULAR




                                                                            OCCASIONAL




                                      Page57
                                            AppendixVI
                                            Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




                                            Similarly, the current network configuration provides two means of con-
                                            necting to the network. Users physically located near the network file
                                            servers (i.e., in the same building) are generally connected through a
                                            cable (“hard-wired”). Users located at remote sites create a connection
                                            through the use of a modem and an existing telephone line (“dial-up*‘).
                                            Questionnaire responses indicated that users whose workstation was
                                            hard-wired into the local area network were five times more likely to be
                                            a regular user than those who accessed through a dial-up method.


Figure 7: Frequency   of LAN Use of Hard-
Wired Users
                                                                                   NEVER




                                                                                   REGULAR




                                                                                  OCCASIONAL




                                            Page68
                                             AppendixVI
                                             Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Figure 8: Frequency   of LAN Use for Dial-
Up Users                                             ,--                               NEVER


                                                                                       8.9%
                                                                                       REGULAR




                                                                                       OCCASIONAL




Frequency of LAN Usage                       We asked staff t.o indicate, within the five functions described below,
                                             the manner in which they used the LAN.
for ispecific Tasks
                                             Messaging - sending or receiving   messages.

                                             File Sharing - providing common or shared access to electronic
                                                            documents.

                                             File Transfer - transmitting or receiving electronic documents.

                                             Composition - creating or revising written materials.

                                             Data Analysis - manipulating and examining data.

                                             Based on 404 questionnaire responses, we grouped frequency of utiliza-
                                             tion into “regular” (i.e., several times a month or more) and “infre-
                                             quent” (i.e., once a month or less).                                          I

                                             Questionnaire responses show that in the past year staff used the IAN
                                             primarily for messaging. The utilization of the other functions is signifi-
                                             cantly lower due to limitations in the current hardware/software
                                             configuration.
                                           AppendixVI
                                           Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




                             -
Figure 9: Frequency   of LAN Use for
Various Functions
                                           100   Percent




                                           60




                                                           ] REGULAR

                                                            INFREQUENT




Impact of LAN on Areas of                  We also asked those who had used the LAN during the past year to assess
GAO Responsibility                         its impact on the timeliness and quality of their contributions to three
                                           areas

                                       l   job conduct, including assignment/issue area planning, data collection
                                            and analysis, report preparation and review, and product publishing
                                            and distribution;
                                       l   job management, including general management/oversight of individual
                                           or multiple assignments; and
                                       l    unit management, including obtaining, developing, and communicating
                                            information related to the tracking and scheduling of assignments and
                                            resources as well as training, travel, personnel information, and other
                                            management information.




                                           Page60
                                        AppendixVI
                                        Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




                                        Because not all GAO staff have responsibility for each of these areas,   the
                                        frequency with which they used the LAN in each varied.


Figure 10: Frequency   of LAN Use for
Assignment Conduct
                                           n                                    SEVERAL TIMES PER WEEK

                                                                                DAILY




                                                                                ALMOST NEVER




                                                                                MONTHLY OR LESS




                                                                                SEVERAL TIMES PER MONTH




                                        Page61
                                             AppendixVI
                                             Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Figure 11: Frequency of LAN Use for
Assignment Management
                                                                              SEVERAL TIMES PER MONTH




                                                                      45.1%   ALMOST NEVER




                                                           I                  MONTHLY OR LESS



Figure 12: Frequency   of LAN Use for Unit
Management
                                                 k                            SEVERAL TIMES PER WEEK

                                                                              DAILY




                                                                              ALMOST NEVER




                                                                              MONTHLY OR LESS




                                                                              SEVERAL TIMES PER MONTH


                                             Page62
                                      Appendix    VI
                                      Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




                                       The staff who made use of the LAN at least weekly in any of these areas
                                      judged it to have a strongly positive impact on both the Quality and
                                      timeliness of their contributions.


Figure 13: Impact of LAN on Quality
(Weekly and Daily Users Only)         loo   Percent




                                       80


                                       60


                                       40




                                       20




                                        0


                                             JOB CONDUCT            JOB          UNIT
                                                                    MANAGEMENT   MANAGEMENT


                                                       1 POSITIVE

                                                        NONE

                                                        NEGATIVE




                                      Page63
                                         AppendixVI
                                         Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Figure 14: impact of LAN on Timeliness
(Weekly and Daily Users Only)
                                         100   Percent
                                                                    -


                                          00


                                          60


                                         40


                                         20




                                           0
                                                                                 I
                                               JOB CONDUCT          JOB          UNIT
                                                                    MANAGEMENT   MANAGEMENT


                                                         POStTlVE

                                                         NONE

                                                         NEGATIVE




                                         Page64
                                          AppendixVI
                                          Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Other Areas Impacted by                  After using the LAN for a period of time to perform various job tasks,
the ILAN                                 users perceived a positive impact in a number of additional areas. Most
                                         prevalent was in communication with headquarters staff where almost
                                         80 percent of the LAN users said it had a positive impact. About 60 per-
                                         cent of the users perceived a positive impact on their personal produc-
                                         tivity, while at least 30 percent of LAN users believed the network has
                                         had a positive impact on areas such as personal morale and product
                                         quality.



Figure 15: Percentage of LAN Users Perceiving a Positive Impact of LAN on Various Areas
100       Percent




 80


60         -


40


20




 0
      c




                                         Page65
                                       AppendixVI
                                       Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Reasons for Not Using the              To better understand how the network could be improved to meet user
                                       needs, we asked staff why they would choose to use microcomputers in
LAN                                    a stand-alone environment rather than in a LAN mode. Over 30 percent
                                       of the respondents indicated they did so because of the difficulty in
                                       accessing the LAN software. Other staff stated that the stand-alone envi-
                                       ronment was faster, that the LAN operation was too unreliable, or that
                                       LAN access was inadequate.




in Stand-alone Rather Than LAN Mode   35   Percent

                                      30


                                      25


                                      20


                                      15


                                      10


                                       5




                                      Page66
                                      AppendixVI
                                      Analysisof UserQuestionnaire




Adequacy of the Existing              Finally, we asked users to assess the adequacy of various aspects of the
LAN                                   LAN. Less than 70 percent of the respondents said they had adequate
                                      access to the LAN and less than 40 percent found the LAN to be operation-
                                      ally reliable. Only about 70 percent of the staff said they had adequate
                                      access to a computer.


Figure 17: LAN Users’ Perception of
Adequacy
                                      100   Percant




                                            0         ADEQUATE

                                                      INADEQUATE




                                      Page67
Appendix   VII

Network User Questionnaire



                                                    U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
                                                          Survey of Computer Utilization


                 The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain data oa   PART II-BACKGROUND            INFORMATION
                 how computers are b&g used by staff and bow they
                 have affected our work. Specifically , this swey         1. What is your current grade? (Check one.)
                 focuses on automated data processing and oHice
                 automation resources in GAO, especially in                 1. 1 ] GS-8 and below
                 environments where microcomputers are being
                 networked together with a Local Area Network               2. I Band f/G.%9 to GS-12
                 (IAN). As you may know, your offtce is part of a
                 pilot lookiug at office automation. Your assistance in     3. I    Band II/GS-13 and GS-14
                 providing information will ultimately help us to make
                 better decisions regarding the acquisition and             4. I    Baud III/GS-15
                 application of technology resources iu the future.
                                                                            5. 1    Above   GS-15 and SES
                 This questionnaire should take only a few minutes to
                 complete. Thank you for your assistance.
                                                                          2. What is your division or regional oftice? {Check
                                                                            one.)

                                                                             1. [ ] RCED {in headquarters building)
                 PART I-DEFINITIONS
                                                                            2. [ ] Other RCED audit site
                 For the purpose of this study, there are two computer
                 environments: the LAN environment and the stand            3. [ ] HRD (in headquarters building)
                 atone environment. A definition of each is provided
                 below.                                                     4. [ ] HRD/SSA site

                 LAN Environment--Use       of a microcomputer or            5. [ ] HRD/HCFA         site
                 terminal to access and use software packages such as
                 WordPerfect, Foxbase+, Email, etc. through the Iocal        6. [ ] Other HRD audit site
                 area network (LAN). The microcomputer/terminal
                 may be p&i&y       cabled to the L4N or connected           7. [ ] San Fraocisco Regjonal Office
                 through a modem.
                                                                            8. [ 1 Other GAO regional office
                 Stand Alone Environment--Use of a microcomputer
                 to access and use software packages such as                 9. [ 1 OIRM, OK.        OGC or other
                 WordPerfect, dBase, etc. which are located either on
                 a floppy diskette or the microcomputer’s hard disk.
                                                                          3. How     maoy months have you worked in this
                                                                             division, regional oftice or other office? (Enter
                                                                             number.)

                                                                                        months




                                               Page 6R
                                AppendixVII
                                NetworkUserQuestionnaire




4.   Whichof the followingdcsaibesyourfunction,             5. Whereis themicrocomputer/terminal
                                                                                            you most
     regardless
              of your formalposition description?             frequently use?       If you do not use a
     (Check one.)                                             microcomputer/tenninaI,   where is the one you
                                                              would use if you did? (Check one.)
     1. [ ] Clerical, secretarial, or
            administrative support                            I. [ ] In your cubicle or off&

     2. [ ] Evaluator or evaluator-related staff not in a     2. [ ] III someone else’s cubicle or office
            specialist group
                                                              3. [ ] In a shared or common area
     3. [ ] Specialist (DMTAG,       TAG,     or   EAG
            member in a specialist group)
                                                            6. Is this miuocomputer/terminal hard-wired into the
     4. [ ] Unit manager (ACG, Director, Regional              IAN or does it access the LAN through a
            Manager,Assistant
                            Director, etc.)                    modem? (Check one.)

     5. [ ] Other (Specifi.)                                  1. [ ] Hard-wired into the LAN

                                                              2. [ ] Accesses the LAN through a modem

                                                              3. [ ] Not connected to the LAN in either way




                                Page69
                                  AppendixVII
                                  NetworkUserQuestionmire




7.        Below is a list of software packages. 1x1Part 4 indicate how much workiog knowledge you have of each. lo
          Parr B. indicate bo4 that knowledgc level has changed during FY 1990. (Qlcclr one barjorcnch.)


                                              Part A                                       PartB
                                      Current Working Koowicdge                    challgc ill working Knowledge




II 3.       dBase




     6.     Statistical Package
            for the Social
            Sciences (SPSS)
            in the LAN
            environmar
     7.     SPSS in the staod-
            alone eovironmcal
     8.     XTALK
            Email


PART       III-USAGE   PAlTERNS

8.        During fiscal year I%@, did you ux a computer         9.   About what portjon of the GAO work you did
          to do GAO work? (Check one.)                               using   a computer,   was done through   tiie LAN?
                                                                     (Check one.)
          1. [ ] Yes
                                                                     1. [ ] All or almost all
          2. [ ] No--> (Skip /a 18)
                                                                     2. [ ] Most

                                                                     3. [ ].4boutbalf

                                                                     4. [ ] Some

                                                                     5. [ ] lhlc

                                                                     6. [ ] None--~ (Skip to 15)




                                  Page70
                                  Appellaix M
                                  Network User Questionnaire




Nope:    The followg     items concern the role computers play in wlecled functions and areas of rcsponsibili~
         aisocmed wiltb your GAO work. It is necessary Rabatyou read Lhe tclatcd dchilions before complctlng
         questions in this section.




Messaging-using      the network IO send or receive messages.

File Shariog~-using the qerwork to provide commor or shared access to eicctronic documents.

File Transfer--using     the network to transmit or receive electronic files.

Composition/editing--using   metwork prokided software to create or revise mitten material (i.e., using WordPerfect
to prepare a draft report or usmg ForComment to prowde editorial comments).

Data .halFsis--using     nerwork provided software to perform data analysis (e.g., SAS, SPSS, etc.)



10. Please indhe     hou frequentI) (if at all) you used the L&V during fecal year 1990 to perform each of the
    functions listed below. (Check one far each )




                                                       Never       Once a       Several   Several
                                                         or        Month        Times a    TilDCS
                                                      Almost       or Lx5        Month    a Week
                                                       NCWJ                                           Daily
                         FL’NCI-IONS                    (1)          (2)         (31       (4)         (5)
            1. Messaging
            2.    File sharing
            3.    File transfer

           4. Composition/editing
           5      Data analysis




                                  Page 71
                              Appendix W
                              Network User Questionnaire




Assignment kanagcmeot--includes    general managcmcnt/ovctsight of individual or multiple ar&mcnts                    (e.g.,
preparing Form lCQ’& tracking assignment progress, preparing ratings, etc.).

Assignment Conduct--includes a&nmcnt/issue            planning data cokction       and analysis, report preparation and
review, and product publishing and distribution.

GAO or Unit Management-idudes        obtaining, developing, and commurticating information related IO Iht trackg
and scheduling of assignments and resources (i.e., staff and dollars) as well as training, travel, personnel information,
scheduling. and other management information.


11. Please indicate how frequently (if at all) you used the L4N during &al           year 1593 to meet each of the areas
    of responsibili~ listed below. (Check onejor each.)


                                               Don’t          Never       Once a          Several      Several
                                               have             Or        Month           Times a       TiCS
                                                tkis          Almos:      or Less          Month       a Week
                                             Responsi-         Never
     AREAS OF RESPOXSIBILTTY                   bility                                                             Daily
                                                 (1)            (2)         (3)            (4)          (5)        (6)
    1. Assignment management
    2. Assignmenr conduct
    3. GAO or uni! managcmcnt


12. Under PART A indicate whether the LAN bad a positive, negative or no impact on the timeliness of Lhe
    cornriburions you made during N 1’990 in each area listed befow. (C?teck one under PARTAfar each.1
    Under PART B indicate whether the LAN had a positive, negative or no impact oa the quality of the
    contributions you made during FY 1590 in each area listed below. (Check me under PART B for cwh.J

                                            PART A                                          PART B
                                    Impact of Lair’ on Timeliness                   Impact of L4N on Quality


                                Ncga-       No        PoSi-     Didn’t             Nega-       No         Posi-    Didn’t
                                 dve
                                 1k.T     Impact       tive      use                live     lmpaci        tive     use
                               Imvad
                               Impact                Impact     LAN               Impact                 impact    LAH
                                                                   for                                               for
L       AREAS OF                                                 this                                               this
                                            (2)        (3)        (4)               (5)          (6)       (7)       (8)




      managcmcnl




                               Page 72
l3. In your opinion, has your USCof the IAN in fiscal year 1990 had a positive, negative, or no impact on the
    following? Please cxcludc the use of hardware or software packages which another person performs u a service
    to you. (Check one far each.)




                                                        V-Y                         SOEUC-     very      No
                                                        Nega-                        what      Posi-    Basis
                                                         live                        Posi-      live      t0
                                                       lmpacl                         tive    Impaa     Judge
                                                                                    Imuau


          1. Your personal productivity
          2. ouality of your products
          3. Calendar time IO complete your jobs
          4. Number of staff days spent IO
             complerc your jobs
          5. Your capabtib IO do new kinds of
             auDlidons


          6. Your morale
          7. Your coordination with other GAO
             headquarters staff or management
             on data collection and analysis
          8. Your uxtdinarion with other GAO
             headquarters staff or management
             on developing report products
          9. Your communication/messaging with
             other GAO headquarters staff or
             management
         10. Your coordination with other GAO
             regional staff or management on
             data collection and analvsis
         11. Your coordination with other GAO
             regional staff or managcmeat on
             developing report products
         12. Your communication/messaging       with
             othct GAO regional staff or
             managemtnt
         l3. Smriug automated documents and
             Gltscrtattd   byothtrsworkhgwitb
             MU




                                  Page 73
                              Apprndix    VII
                              Network    I1ser Qurstiomairr




14. On average, during fiscal year 1990 how frequently (if at a!l) did you use each of   tht applications   listed   bdow

    In a LAh’ cotiroamtnt?    (check one bar for e&x)




15. On average, during liscal year 19W how frequently (if at all) did you use each of the applications listed below
    In a stand alont environment? (Check one bar for CL&.)




                               Page 74
               -.---..

16. why do you use a microcomputer in the stand aloac rather than the L4N environment?       (Check one.)

   1. I ] I rarely or never use a microcomputer in a stand aIooc environment
   2. 1 ] The LAN is IOO diflicuh to learn
   3. [ ] I[ is difticult IO find someone to help solve LAN problems

   4. 1 ] It is easier to access sofrware through the stand alone entionment   Luau through the LAN

   5. [ ] 1~lakes less time to do the work in the stand alone entionmen~

   6. [ ] The LAN does not have the software packages I need

   7. [ ] The operation of the L4K is too unrciiable

   8. I ] Other (Specifi.)


17. Based on vow experience, how adequate or inadequate is each of the foIlowing?     (Check one bar   foremh.)




      2. Your access to the IAN




      5. The LA!“: training available
         to YOU                         I            I
      6. l-he IAN technical support
         available to you
      7. The selection of software
         packages available through
         the IAN
      8. The operational reliability
         OfthCL4N


      9. Other (Specify.)




                             Page 75
    PART F-.COMMEh?                                                                                                 I


    18. Please place any cmnmen~s you may have concerning how computers are k&g used by you or others around
        you and bow they have affected our work in the space below Pleasc indicate the ocher kinds of s&ware
        packages you may be using in your GAO work w&b were not covcrcd ia this questionnaire. Ah, pltaw
        describe any changes you could make in your contriiutiolls to GAO using uistiag computer resown%.
        Furthcrmorc, please dcscrik any changes you could make in your contributiom to GAO if additional computer
        resowxs wcrr. made available.




    Thank you for your a5sistancef




i




                                Payc 76
1
Y