March 27, 2015 - This report provides background regarding CalTech’s IT project responsibilities, discusses common project challenges, describes how projects are currently managed in the state, comments on the administration’s plan to centralize project management, and makes recommendations on how the Legislature should proceed with implementing a centralized Project Management Office in California.
February 17, 2017 - In recent years, the California Department of Technology has begun implementing a new IT project approval process—known as the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL)—with the goal of helping to bolster project planning and reducing the likelihood of project challenges or failure. Although the PAL process has the potential to improve the quality of IT project implementation in theory, we raise a number of issues for the Legislature to consider as it exercises oversight of this new process. First, the merits of providing funding for IT project planning proposals should be determined on a case-by-case basis, and we note a few issues the Legislature may want to consider when determining whether to support a request for IT project planning funds. Additionally, we identify these funding requests for PAL-related planning activities as an early opportunity for the Legislature to weigh in on the potential project. Finally, we find that the Legislature could increase its oversight of the PAL process by (1) building in additional oversight methods when approving budget requests and (2) considering an evaluation of the actual benefits of the new project approval process.
March 10, 2016 - In this report, we describe the FI$Cal Project, provide an update on the project’s status, and describe the events that triggered the development of a sixth special project report (SPR 6). We also describe the Governor’s 2016–17 budget proposals to: (1) allow the project to implement the changes proposed in SPR 6 and (2) establish a new state department to maintain and operate the FI$Cal System. Finally, we make associated findings and recommendations.
February 20, 2020 - This report provides an overview of the proposed and approved IT projects in the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget. We first provide relevant background information on the state’s IT project approval process, approaches to development and implementation of projects once approved, maintenance and operation of IT systems once completed, and requirements for state government entities to request resources for projects through the budget process. We then identify and summarize the budget requests to plan proposed projects and to develop and implement projects (whether proposed or approved).
February 22, 2022 - This post provides background on the California Department of Technology's cost recovery model and rate development process for IT services, evaluates related Governor's budget proposals and available information on a proposed rate re-evaluation process, and offers our recommendations to the Legislature.
March 26, 2014 - In January 2014, the FI$Cal Project submitted, and the Department of Technology approved, special project report (SPR) 5, which updates the project plans. The SPR 5 includes changes in the project's scope, implementation schedule, and future staffing levels. In this report, we find that SPR 5 reduces overall project risk and make recommendations concerning (1) the project's annual reporting requirement to the Legislature and (2) recruitment and retention issues. Ultimately, we believe that the benefits of proceeding with FI$Cal development outweigh the inherent risks that remain, and therefore recommend approval of the Governor’s budget proposal that reflects a reasonable funding plan to implement the updated project plan (SPR 5).
February 28, 2017 - The State Controller’s Office (SCO) has recently renewed its effort to replace the state’s payroll system. In this year’s budget, the Governor proposes $3 million to begin an analysis of proposed alternatives for replacing the system. It makes sense for the state to assess the potential problems, both in terms of functionality and stability, with the state’s payroll system and to explore solutions to these problems. The appropriate selection of a project alternative will be critical to the success of the future payroll project. As such, we recommend the Legislature require the SCO to present its full findings from the alternatives analysis before it is granted additional funding for subsequent analyses. This would provide the Legislature with a clear opportunity to provide meaningful input and weigh in with its own priorities for the payroll system before a solution is procured.
March 17, 2023 - This post provides an overview of the information technology projects in the Governor’s proposed 2023-24 budget, provides our assessment of topics common to several proposals, and offers options for legislative consideration.
March 30, 2023 - This report satisfies supplemental report language adopted by the Legislature in 2022 on nonreporting entities’ information security (IS) compliance. Among other considerations, this report (1) identifies each of the nonreporting entities based on one statutory interpretation, (2) considers whether some of them could benefit from compliance with and reporting on IS policies and procedures similar to those set by the California Department of Technology, and (3) provides options for the Legislature to consider to improve nonreporting entities’ IS compliance and achieve a certain IS maturity level.
November 8, 2012 - In recent years, the state has entered into public-private partnerships (P3) to finance, design, construct, operate, and maintain two state infrastructure projects in order to achieve benefits that they might not have obtained under a more traditional procurement approach. In this report, we find that the P3 practices of these recent projects are not necessarily aligned with the P3 best practices identified in research. Based on our findings, we identify several opportunities for the state to further maximize its benefits when deciding to procure a state infrastructure project as a P3. Specifically, we recommend that the Legislature (1) specify P3 project selection criteria in statute, (2) require a comparative analysis of a range of procurement options in order to better determine which procurement option would most effectively benefit the state, (3) require the existing Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission (PIAC) to approve state P3 projects, and (4) modify the structure and responsibilities of PIAC to better provide state expertise on P3s.
March 2, 2018 - In this analysis, we describe the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) Project and the major changes to the project based on the newly released Special Project Report (SPR). We also describe the Governor’s 2018-19 budget proposal to fund activities associated with the new SPR at the State Controller’s Office. Finally, we make associated findings and recommendations.