Report Summary
Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General

May 2010

Conversion of the Social Security Administration’s Legacy File Management System
(A 14-09-19097)


To (1) evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) conversion of its Master Data Access Method (MADAM) file management system to the DB2 Data Base Management System; and (2) provide insights as to best practices and lessons learned for future systems conversions.


MADAM was developed in the early 1980s to support the storage and retrieval of SSA’s major program Master Files.  MADAM was written in a programming language that is no longer widely used, which, when combined with the system’s complexity, makes it difficult to train or recruit new programmers.  Furthermore, with the increasing number of retirements among SSA’s system personnel, there will be fewer individuals who can maintain MADAM.

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Our Findings

We found that SSA had effectively implemented MADAM-DB2 Conversion Project (the Project) to replace MADAM; however, the Project implementation strategy was not efficient because the strategy resulted in less than optimal database design. The team worked with various stakeholders to implement the Project and resolved various issues encountered during the process.  To date, SSA has successfully completed Phase I for two of the four Master Files.  Although the Project team performed well, we found the following: