Audit at a Glance—Report 5—Information Technology Investments—Canada Border Services Agency
Audit at a Glance Report 5—Information Technology Investments—Canada Border Services Agency
What we examined (see Focus of the audit)
This audit focused on assessing whether the Canada Border Services Agency has the corporate and management practices in place to enable the delivery of information technology (IT) investments that align with and support its strategic corporate objectives.
Why we did this audit
The Canada Border Services Agency plays a key role in Canada’s security and prosperity by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada. In the 2013–14 fiscal year, the Agency admitted into the country close to 100 million travellers, cleared more than 14 million commercial shipments, made over 9,000 drug seizures, and removed almost 14,000 failed refugee claimants and other inadmissible persons from Canada. These activities resulted in the collection of $26.9 billion or approximately 10 percent of Government of Canada revenues.
Information technology plays a key part in the Agency’s ability to achieve its strategic objectives and mandate of ensuring border security, providing client service, and achieving operational efficiencies. The Agency’s Information, Science and Technology Branch manages the Agency’s portfolio of IT investments to deliver IT products and services that support the management of Canada’s borders.
What we concluded
We concluded that the Canada Border Services Agency has developed the necessary corporate and management practices to deliver on IT investments through its Project Portfolio Management Framework. However, the Agency has not put into practice all the elements of the framework that would enable it to ensure that the delivery of information technology investments align with and support its strategic corporate objective. Also, the committees that oversee the portfolios have not ensured that they have all the information they need to fully exercise their duties and responsibilities for ensuring that project requirements and conditions are met at each stage of approval.
What we found
Managing information technology investments
Overall, we found that the Canada Border Services Agency has had significant challenges in managing its information technology portfolio in a way that ensured it could deliver IT projects that meet requirements and deliver expected benefits. In December 2013, the Agency put in place a new Project Portfolio Management Framework to strengthen its management of IT investments. We found that the framework was comprehensive. However, in our review of five projects against the new framework, we found that the Agency did not fully put it into practice, which resulted in several issues. One was that senior committees responsible for overseeing the IT portfolio did not have complete and accurate information to ensure that projects were being managed to meet each stage of approval, meet delivery requirements, and align with and support the Agency’s objectives. In addition, projects often lacked clear requirements, had no defined and measurable benefits, or had poorly stated benefits. Projects also experienced a number of issues, including duplication of effort and delays.
This is important because information technology plays a key role in the Agency’s ability to achieve its strategic objectives and mandate of ensuring border security. Without access to complete reliable project information with clear business requirements, the Agency is restricted in how efficiently and effectively it can manage the portfolio of projects in a manner that will help the Agency achieve its desired outcomes and benefits of security, service, and savings.
Recommendation. The Canada Border Services Agency should ensure that all elements of the Project Portfolio Management Framework are implemented and strengthen its governance of IT investments by
- updating its Agency Investment Plan and Annual IT Plan and incorporating all significant capital projects, the Agency’s capacity to undertake the projects, and the financial investment required;
- defining and completing its target enterprise architecture and using it to provide direction on how projects should be prioritized and scoped to avoid redundancies; and
- completing an IT project portfolio risk profile, by building on the Beyond the Border IT portfolio risk profile to understand how the risks affect the IT portfolios.
Recommendation. The Canada Border Services Agency should ensure that project requirements are met and measures are defined to assess if the projects deliver expected benefits.
Recommendation. The Canada Border Services Agency should establish clear procedures and practices on how the information for the project dashboards is collected, reported, and enforced to ensure consistent and complete project status reporting for its portfolio of IT projects.
Entity Responses to Recommendations
Canada Border Services Agency agrees with our recommendations, and has responded (see List of Recommendations).
|Report of the||Auditor General of Canada|
|Type of product||Performance audit|
|Completion date||13 February 2015|
|Tabling date||28 April 2015|
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