Legislative Analyst's Office
February 22, 1995

Administration's Plan to Restructure State Information Technology Pending

The administration's plan to restructure state information technology has not been released. It is not clear whether the plan will adopt the recommendations of three independent studies, which proposed major restructuring of the state's information technology program. Major problems identified in all three reports remain unresolved, and some new technology initiatives have been placed on hold.

Three Independent Studies Concur on Information Technology Problems and Solutions

In 1994, three separate studies reviewed and identified fundamental problems with the state's planning, implementing, and managing of information technology (IT). Additionally, these problems received considerable discussion before various legislative committees. Although many of the problems were not new, they were highlighted by the failure of the Department of Motor Vehicles' (DMV) $49 million effort to replace its aging driver license and registration databases, as well as the disclosure of serious problems in a number of other major state IT programs.

The studies were conducted by our office (Information Technology: An Important Tool For a More Effective Government, June 16, 1994), a task force appointed by the Governor (Report of the Task Force on Government Technology Policy and Procurement, October 1994), and the Bureau of State Audits (The State Needs to Reengineer Its Management of Information Technology, December 1994).

Although each study contained unique findings and recommendations, there is a substantial amount of concurrence among all three studies, as reflected in Figure 9.

All three studies concluded that the Office of Information Technology (OIT) should be eliminated, and a new organizational structure established which should report directly to the Governor.--

Legislature's Reaction

The Legislature took several actions in response to the identified problems. In several cases, the Legislature adopted Budget Bill language setting conditions on specific IT efforts which were determined to have serious problems. The conditions imposed by the Legislature ranged from advance reporting of planned IT activities (Stephen P. Teale Data Center), to the hiring of independent consultants by the Bureau of State Audits to review specific IT programs (DMV, Department of Social Services, and OIT). In addition, legislation was introduced to restructure IT oversight and operations. Finally, the Legislature passed SCR 53 (Alquist), which created the Joint Legislative Committee on State Information Technology, which has as its purpose:

Implementation Plan Pending. On October 17, 1994, the Director of the Office of Planning and Research testified at the first hearing of the Legislature's Joint Legislative Committee on State Information Technology that his office was leading an effort to develop a plan for implementing the recommendations of the Governor's task force. The Director indicated that the plan was anticipated to be completed in December 1994. However, at the time this analysis was prepared, the plan had not been released.

1995-96 Governor's Budget

The Governor's 1995-96 Budget Summary indicates that the Governor has endorsed his task force's findings, including a proposal to eliminate the OIT in favor of establishing a State Chief Information Officer (CIO). The Governor indicated that he plans to hire a CIO early in 1995 as a senior member of his administration. Upon being hired, the CIO would be responsible for designing a new Office of the State Chief Information Officer and redesigning the state's IT practices. By July 1, 1995, the CIO would inherit the state IT responsibilities of the OIT. According to the budget, the CIO will present to the Legislature, prior to the May budget revision, a fiscal plan for the full implementation of the new office.

Budget Unclear as to Plans for the OIT. Although there appears to be a clear indication that the OIT will be replaced with a new office reporting more directly to the Governor, the proposed budget for the Department of Finance (DOF) includes $2 million for the full-year funding of the OIT in 1995-96. Consequently, in our analysis of the DOF in this chapter of the Analysis, we recommend that the department advise the Legislature as to its plans for the OIT.

Serious IT Issues Noted in This Analysis. Until the administration acts, significant problems identified by the three independent studies will remain, for the most part, unaddressed. In addition, at least one project--the Electronic Commerce project in the Department of General Services--has effectively been put on hold until restructuring of OIT has occurred.

In this Analysis we discuss several specific departmental IT programs. These issues highlight the continued difficulty the state is experiencing in its efforts to employ IT. Figure 10 lists those departments and projects discussed elsewhere in this Analysis, where we have identified IT issues.

-----Other Information Technology Issues in the Analysis

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