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The 2021-22 Budget: California State Payroll System IT Project


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The 2020-21 Budget: The Governor's IT Project Proposals

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).

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The 2017-18 Budget: California State Payroll System

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.

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The 2017-18 Budget: The New IT Project Approval and Funding Process

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.

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The 2018-19 Budget: The May Revision—California State Payroll System

May 14, 2018 - The 2018-19 May Revision proposes multiyear funding related to the California State Payroll System (CSPS). In this post, we describe and comment on the proposal. We also discuss how the rationale for the payroll system has evolved.

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The 2019-20 Budget: Aligning the State’s IT Project Approval Process With the Annual Budget Process

March 14, 2019 - In this post, we describe how the California Department of Technology’s (CDT) information technology (IT) project approval process—known as the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL)—does not always align with the state’s annual budget process. We identify seven funding requests in the Governor’s 2019-20 proposed budget for IT project proposals that are currently in various stages of the PAL process. We then describe how these requests for project funding prior to the completion of the PAL planning process may inhibit the Legislature from fully realizing the anticipated benefits of the PAL process, discuss how some project-specific factors can cause misalignment of the budget cycle and PAL, and provide issues for legislative consideration.

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The 2021-22 Budget: “Cradle to Career” Data System

March 26, 2021 - Provides background on process to date toward creating an integrated education data system and other related data tools (collectively referred to as the "Cradle to Career" data system), describes the Governor's proposals to fund the development of specific components of this system, assesses these proposals, and makes associated recommendations.

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[PDF] Try Before You Buy: Expanding Multi–Stage Procurements for Large IT Systems

November 11, 2009 - The state's traditional approach for IT procurement, called the firm fixed price (FFP) procurement, creates a prescriptive process that gives equal footing to all vendors to help ensure open competition and reduce the state’s exposure to protests and potential lawsuits due to perceived vendor bias. As an alternative the state is beginning to look to so-called multi–stage procurement because it creates a collaborative environment for state and vendor staff. Our analysis indicates that an earlier evaluation of procurement strategy can reduce the risks of cost overruns and schedule delays, so we recommend that the Legislature require state entities to include procurement strategies in project documents when they submit them for approval.

(Short video summary)

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[PDF] The 2018-19 Budget: Transportation Proposals

February 8, 2018 - In this report, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for various transportation departments and programs. We begin by providing an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget for each department and program. In the next section, we discuss two cross‑cutting state transportation issues: (1) funding from the tax and fee increases authorized by Chapter 5 of 2017 (SB 1, Beall), and (2) an update on the condition of the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA). In the following three sections, we analyze the Governor’s budget proposals for Caltrans, CHP, and DMV. In each of these sections, we provide relevant background, describe the proposals, assess the proposals, and identify issues and recommendations for legislative consideration. The final section consists of a summary of the recommendations we make throughout the report.

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The 2014-15 Budget: 21st Century Project Update

March 19, 2014 - In this report, we review the administration’s 2014-15 budget proposal to continue legal activities related to the suspended 21st Century Project (TFC). We find that the Governor’s 2014-15 budget proposes funding for outside legal counsel at roughly one-half of the State Controller's Office's (SCO) estimate of projected costs, and therefore recommend that the Legislature budget the full estimate instead. In addition, we find that an independent assessment of the TFC Project is a necessary precursor to addressing the state’s unmet need for an updated human resources management and payroll system. As the Governor's proposal lacks such an assessment, we recommend the Legislature appropriate additional resources to SCO for such an assessment. We provide details on what such an assessment should include.

Hearing Handout

[PDF] The Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal)

June 27, 2019 - Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation