State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Revamping and updating state government information technology (IT) systems are quite expensive. The flip side is that the massive overhauls can save money in efficiency. However, when IT systems fail, the costs can be even greater than the savings IT systems were predicted to generate.
Stateline.org examined IT system problems in five states, including
The ramifications are severe with 85 percent of government IT projects failing to come in on-time, on-budget or both according to Stateline. Problems run from bad contractors to faulty systems to cost-overruns.
Communication also poses a problem. Most state employees lack the expertise or background in IT lingo, making it difficult to express exact needs.
What is the answer? Stay the course, since tough fiscal times predicate that states try to attain the savings that can be derived from pairing with private companies for large IT contracts.
States must make the decision whether to upgrade their systems using the knowledge of their own technology staff or contract with private companies. When the latter is the choice, consolidation is an idea goal: shared success along with shared responsibility for problems incurred. Companies are extremely reluctant to enter into agreements with states calling for unlimited liability or performance bonds. Even so, some states require damage clauses that are more than double the contract price, citing high costs upon contract failures.
Another key to avoiding IT failure is consistent and constant contract management.
Stateline reports, “
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