Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
June 27, 2012
TIGTA - 2012-25
Contact: David Barnes
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has successfully established a testing environment for the performance and capacity of its new Customer Account Data Engine (CADE 2) that is representative of the production environment. However, it may not have acquired all the information it needs to make a fully informed decision on the ability of the new CADE 2 system to handle workloads, according to a new report publicly released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
The overall objective of TIGTA’s review was to determine whether the IRS is effectively testing the performance and capacity of CADE 2. Built on the foundations of the current Customer Account Data Engine (CADE), CADE 2 will allow the IRS to convert the existing weekly individual taxpayer account processing system to daily batch processing.
TIGTA found that the testing environment the IRS has established for CADE 2 is obtaining meaningful data from its pre-production tests. Nevertheless, the IRS did not follow procedures to ensure that performance requirements were completely tested during the Final Integration Test Phase I. As a result, the IRS may not have acquired all the necessary information to make a fully informed decision on the ability of the CADE 2 system to effectively process transactions under expected normal and peak workload conditions, within acceptable response time thresholds.
TIGTA also found that the IRS needs to develop procedures for access to and retention and maintenance of performance testing artifacts. The lack of standardization in maintenance of testing artifacts increases the risk that artifacts needed for future review or for use in other development projects may not be available.
“TIGTA found that although the IRS has established a good test environment, the IRS must make additional improvements to its testing system to be able to ascertain the CADE 2 system’s ability to timely handle workloads,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “This is important, because the untimely completion of information processing could result in delayed taxpayer refunds and reduced customer service.”
TIGTA recommended that the Associate Chief Information Officer, Applications Development, ensure internal controls for testing performance and capacity requirements are formally and effectively implemented to ensure the traceability of these requirements through the performance testing process. This should include the use of integrated automated tools, when warranted by program and project size, to improve the consistency and completeness of testing performance and capacity requirements. In addition, the IRS should develop procedures related to the access to and retention and maintenance of testing artifacts for performance testing.
In their response to the report, IRS management agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations.
Read the report.
Note: The difference between the date TIGTA issues an audit report to the Internal Revenue Service and the date TIGTA publicly releases the report is due to TIGTA's internal review process to ensure that public release is in compliance with Federal confidentiality laws.
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