US report suggests huge FISCal IT project may be ‘running into some hurdles’

By David Bicknell

A report from the US has cast doubt on the progress of a major financial system for the state of California.

CivSource suggests that the IT project,  a business transformation project for the state government in the areas of budgeting, accounting, and procurement, is “running into some hurdles. The Financial Information System for California (FISCal), was supposed to streamline IT costs and staffing but seems to be hitting snags for exactly those reasons.”

So far, CivSource says, “…the project has cost over $60 million with final costs stretching into over a billion over the next 12 years. Supporters of the system say that the state needs to spend this money in order to upgrade legacy systems and modernise processes.

“However, long term cost-estimates of the project are still up in the air. As are claims that systems will be modernised if the proposed build out lasts over a decade. Future funding is also uncertain as the state faces unprecedented rolling budget crises.”

An LA Times article previously suggested that the system was at one point $300 million over budget and three years behind schedule.  It argues that despite its Silicon Valley technology expertise, California has a poor track record of delivering successful IT projects.

In our book on IT projects, ‘Crash’, Tony Collins and I reported on the problems with the Department of Motor Vehicles project  which was cancelled in 1994 at a cost of around $50m.  $50m would be a snip compared to the financial muscle which may be needed to finally deliver FISCal.

FISCal project site

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