19 Feb 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.
• Oskar Anderson to succeed Miszewski as head of state technology division
• 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