08-17-2007, 07:28 PM
I thinks it is time to have a state Geek Squad that oversees and implements all IT operations. These individual departments don't know what they're doing. They're not qualified to implement the technology. There's been so many FUBAR IT implementations in the past decade it's about as funny as a practical joke gone bad.
Same goes for the Federal Government. IT is such a huge deal in efficiency and security. Maybe time for a new Cabinet Seat? I look at the monumental f-ups in various departments of the Fed govt when they try to implement new computer systems, and I think maybe it's time someone is given the responsibility to form a department that oversees IT.
10-20-2007, 08:52 PM
Hoorah! I knew this thread would pay off. Get after this folks in your own state and get after it for the Fed Govt.
State to fix its computer error
Ritter outlines new centralized system, broadband effort
By Bill Scanlon, Rocky Mountain News
October 12, 2007
Gov. Bill Ritter on Thursday announced a new centralized approach to information technology to stop the bleeding from dysfunctional state computer systems that have wasted some $250 million.
He also announced the state's first Innovation Council that will help bring broadband communications to rural areas and launch entrepreneurs in high-tech business.
"We can vault Colorado into the nation's technology elite," Ritter said to convention-goers at the Colorado Software and Internet Association's Demo Gala in Denver. Under the previous administration, the state contracted to spend $325 million on five new computer systems that were unable to: pay welfare benefits on time, pay road crews overtime, track voters or unemployment benefits, or issue license plates.
Two of the systems have been scrapped, and a third is on hold.
Ritter said the days of 21 different state departments building their own hardware systems and infrastructure are over.
Within a couple years, there will be one e-mail system, not 20; one telephone system, not 100; just two or three data centers instead of 38.
Departments will share the infrastructure and use their own software for particular needs, and IT staff will be able to help any agency across the state.
Ritter estimated that $200 million to $300 million were lost over the past several years because computer systems purchased in a Byzantine decentralized system didn't work, couldn't talk to each other and needed expensive overhauls.
Former Gov. Bill Owens could not be reached for commment Thursday, but Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany, R-El Paso County, said problems with the state's computer systems "have transcended governors of both parties."
Decentralizing a 'blunder'
Ritter praised former state Rep. John Witwer, who took over the troubled Colorado Benefits Management System and helped streamline it and improve its accuracy in calculating food stamps, Medicaid and other benefits.
CBMS can be salvaged, and folded into the new centralized system, said Ritter, but other "systems not well thought out likely will have to be put in the rubbish pile."
The decentralized operations will be folded into the Governor's Office of Information Technology. In May, Ritter elevated Chief Information Officer Mike Locatis to a cabinet-level post and put him in charge of IT reform.
A bipartisan IT Consolidation Bill will be introduced in the state legislature in January.
Entrepreneur Brad Feld, who will co-chair the Innovation Council, said Colorado made a classic blunder years ago.
"Deciding to decentralize IT into individual agencies, each with a discreet budget - that caused a huge amount of duplication of effort. Every system became a separate project," Feld said.
"Why isn't e-mail consolidated in this state? It's an insane thing to have so many systems."
Ritter hopes the new Innovation Council will bring more tele-medicine and Internet learning opportunities to rural areas and spark interest among entrepreneurs looking to do business in a broadly wired environment.
State lags in broadband
Colorado has 3,800 high-tech businesses and 175,000 IT or software employees - third highest per capita in the nation, Ritter said. Yet, it lags in broadband penetration. The Innovation Council will be led by Feld, managing director of the Foundry Group; Juan Rodriguez, founder of StorageTek and Exabyte; and Phil Weiser, who teaches law and telecommunications at the University of Colorado in Boulder. All 64 county courthouses already are linked by fiber-optic network, but the problem is the so-called "last mile," the connection to schools, clinics and homes in the rural counties, he said.
The small telephone companies that serve rural areas were thrilled with Ritter's announcement, hoping it translates into government money to help them connect homes and businesses.
Weiser, the CU professor, said "deploying broadband to unserved areas of Colorado is a make-or-break issue for the state."
He said Colorado can't afford to leave its residents behind while other states - even Kansas and Nebraska have better broadband penetration than Colorado - adopt broadband policies that "catapult them ahead in the 21st century economy."
scanlon@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-442-8729
Information Technology is a big deal. IT is one of the best weapons we have to stay ahead of the nations that want to take us out.
I'd like to see a Presidential candidate address IT as a Cabinet position. It's a real big deal. Real big deal. The problems Colorado is trying to address are sure as hell at the Federal level also. That has to be addressed.