April 23, 2013 (Report Number DP-AR-13-004(R))
The U.S. Postal Service operates one of the largest information technology infrastructures in the world. Data collected from hundreds of computer applications help it manage operations and shape strategic goals. Our report found numerous shortcomings in the management of this critical data. Notably, the Postal Service defined a structure for a data governance program in 2003, but full roles and responsibilities were not uniformly adopted across the enterprise. We also identified limitations in the Postal Service’s data governance program that placed the organization at risk for potential vulnerabilities in data quality, availability, and integrity, which could cause inefficient operations, disruptions in service, and fraud. These limitations included an inconsistent corporate-wide data strategy, unreliable and inaccurate data, data inconsistencies within the Enterprise Data Warehouse, insufficient IT security measures, and difficulties with accessing and sharing data. We identified best practices used by companies with successful data governance programs and we applied these best practices to identify a possible implementation strategy. Management agreed with our recommendation and has begun establishing a formal, enterprise-wide data governance program.