September 17, 2020
(Oakland, CA) The greatest minds in technology are not far from the state Capitolyet taxpayers and lawmakers alike continue to be baffled by the inability to modernize Californias IT systems, much less do so on time and under budget.
For the continual failings by the agencies responsible for overseeing and administering Californias various failed IT projects, the Independent Institute awards its tenth California Golden Fleece® Awarda dishonor given quarterly to California state or local agencies or government projects that swindle taxpayers or break the public trust. These agencies include the California Department of Technology, Department of General Services, Department of Finance, State Controllers Office, State Treasurers Office, Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Department of Consumer Affairs.
From processing unemployment claims to operating payroll, financial, and various Department of Motor Vehicles functions, the state of California has a dismal record of public service, due, in large part, to its outdated and disparate IT systems, said Adam Summers, Independent Institute Research Fellow and author of the report titled Bugs in the System: California State IT Project Failures.Californians deserve access to basic state government services that are just as user-friendly as online shopping.
The report outlines a litany of projectssome dating back decadesthat have failed completely, delivered significantly less functionality than intended, or been completed only after years of delays and spending many millions of dollars more than advertised. The report suggests 20 recommendations and best practices intended to address deficiencies in IT project planning, oversight, and implementation. These include using performance-based contracting, minimizing costly and time-consuming change orders, streamlining bureaucracy, outsourcing more oversight functions, and increasing accountability.
A monopolistic government bureaucracy that faces no competition, and whose budgets are not tied to its performance, simply does not have the same incentives as a private-sector company that must constantly innovate and keep its prices low and its service levels high in order to survive, keep patrons and obtain new customers, says Summers.
The state must also invest in data security to prevent cyberattacks and protect Californians privacy. California allows the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, to sell drivers personal information, to the tune of more than $50 million a year. Keeping Californians personal data secure should be a top priority of all state agencies, the report asserts.
Read the entire report here.
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The Independent Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit Independent.org.