Watchdog: Follow the Money

USPS stores data the expensive way, IG finds

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Watchdog Blog,Kelly Cohen,Inspectors General,Waste and Fraud,Follow the Money,Postal Service

Storing data the U.S. Postal Service way could cost an extra $2 million a year, according to the agency's inspector general.

The Postal Service's "Enterprise Data Warehouse" stores data from about 100 of its different computer systems. The EDW is then able to provide reports to Postal Service employees, while also serving as its "primary financial reporting system."

Processing the data is both tedious and inefficient, according to the IG report. In addition, it often requires manual labor -- if the data is not in an "acceptable format," the EDW rejects it and someone must manually go in to fix the problem.

The Postal IG said USPS could save $1.9 million annually simply by updating its software.

Money concerns have prevented an update in the past, the Postal Service claimed in the report. In addition, the agency had previously stated it wanted more time to study all the possible software updates from which it could choose. Research by the IG shows there are "at least five vendors who offer commercial off-the-shelf software" that will enter the data more cheaply and efficiently.

Research by the IG shows "the Postal Service will realize additional operational benefits by automating this process."

The Postal Service agreed with the IG's findings and said it hopes to acquire the new technology by Sept. 30, 2013 and implement it by May 2014.

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