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State of Wisconsin dumps another tech project

Madison, Wis. - As the completion of an audit into state information technology projects nears, the state of Wisconsin has abandoned another costly IT project.

According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state Department of Workforce Development has decided to stop work on a new automated system that was supposed to track unemployment claims. The system, known as Enhanced Automated Benefits Legal Enterprise Services, or EnABLES, was supposed to replace a system used since the 1970s to track unemployment claims and appeals. Approximately 600,000 such claims and appeals are made annually.

The project was halted in the second of seven phases, which involved an appeals system that was never completed due to delays and the accompanying expense, Hal Bergan, the state's unemployment insurance administrator, told the Journal Sentinel.

Overall, the state spent a total of $23.6 million on the project, including more than $13 million on a paperless claims system that was part of a successful first phase. However, about $10 million was spent on a Phase II appeals system that was never completed, the Journal-Sentinel reported.

A total of $41.2 was allocated for the project, and $13 million was spent on two contractors, including $10.4 million to the prime contractor, the Reston, Va.-based Tier Technologies, a financial transaction processing firm that has federal, state, and local government clients throughout the United States. Approximately $2.6 million went to Curam Software, which is based in Dublin, Ireland and specializes in human services applications for the European Union market.
Audit nearing completion

The EnABLES project is the latest in a series of aborted information technology projects beset by implementation delays and cost overruns.

Last year, amid mounting concern about large IT projects in the Department of Transportation, the Department of Revenue, the State Elections Board, and the University of Wisconsin System, the Legislative Audit Bureau was directed to review contracting and IT systems projects in state agencies. The UW System scrapped a Lawson software project, which was designed to upgrade its payroll and benefits systems, after spending $26 million over a 5-year period.

Kate Wade, a program evaluation director for the audit bureau, declined to provide a date for the completion of the audit.

“We have several large reports that are going out ahead of it,” she said.

In all, the audit bureau has nine performance audits, including the IT systems audit, and eight financial audits in progress.

According to the audit bureau, the state now spends more than $740 million annually on goods and services related to information technology, compared to $320.5 million in purchase orders in fiscal year 1998-99.

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Miszewski to depart as state IT audit wraps up

UW System says goodbye to Lawson after 5 years, $26 million

GOP lawmaker faults Doyle for IT problems


Nancy Braatz responded 8 years ago: #1

Hmmmm, so this is why Doyle now wants to tax digital content downloads. It will help offset the loss from this poorly managed project.

Fan of Wisconsin IT Firms responded 8 years ago: #2

The staggering sums that are wasted on these IT projects are reproachable and inexcusable. But rather than focusing on the project management (or lack thereof), allow me to focus for a moment on the pre-project contract award process. Therein lies a more despicable aspect of this ongoing Wisconsin saga. Namely, where the money goes! How long will Wisconsin taxpayers continue to allow the State of Wisconsin to waste millions with out-of-state IT firms? It's time we all come together and demand that we start wasting millions with one of the many fine Wisconsin-based IT firms. I know plenty of Wisconsin firms that are well-equipped to take $41.2 million and mismanage a project, ignore milestones, laugh at the thought of risk analysis, shrug off deadlines, blankly stare at the suggestion of establishing measurable success criteria, and eventually kill the project altogether with naught but the comfort of all those millions to ease their dismay at another failed project.

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