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A Land of Legacy: New Findings Show California May Be in Need of Several Computer Upgrades

California, known for pumping copious amounts of money towards innovation, is currently working on a $6.8 billion plan, to overhaul their state computer systems. Numerous agencies across the state are experiencing increased difficulty in the functionality of various legacy systems. The outdated features of these systems, has led to not only increased expenditure in the areas of maintenance and upgrade efforts, but intricacies in money management as well. The slow-nature and lack of integrated databases, is perpetuating complications in financial decision-making. It has been reported that several replacement projects have been delayed or completely terminated due to competency issues.

There are several systems that are in dire need of replacement. For that, vendors are positioned at an opportune place in respect of upcoming request for services. According to officials, California's 1970 legacy workforce system is in danger of failing. The system is so old that state employees are unable to obtain electronic statements of their payroll history. A project known as the, 21st Century Project, and worth $130 million was supposed to have launched two years ago, but has been hindered by a lawsuit with the contractor. State Legislature is now considering termination of the project, and completely starting from fresh, however is hesitant due to the burden that may be placed on taxpayers as result. A project aimed at integrating state budget and accounting databases across agencies has also taken a backseat, as reported by the state Finance Department.

In 2008, California faced a $987.8 million penalty from the federal government due to failure in completing their Child Support Payment System on time. The project cost the state $1.5 billion, yet California still holds a collection rate of only 53.1%, according to the federal government. The state's child support database is expected to be part of the $6.8 billion plan. According to former Chief Information Officer, John Thomas Quinn, state bureaucrats show a continuous pattern of awarding contractors vowing to satisfy state requests and for the lowest price. Quinn exemplified how this often leads to a higher need of funding for projects, in the end.

California has recently received $60 million in stimulus funding, in which $20 million is expected to go towards a much needed upgrade to their Unemployment Benefits System. Though the 23-year old legacy system was expected to be completed last year from federal funding the state received seven years ago, the state will not face any sanctions from the federal government. GovWin is currently tracking the Unemployment modernization project here.

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