The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 26, 2012
California shaves computer system cost estimate by $1 billion

Officials overseeing California's troubled financial computer system project say it will cost nearly $1 billion less than earlier estimated, according to a new Bureau of State Audits report.

The latest projections by the the Financial Information System for California, or FI$CAL, figure that the massive hardware and software makeover will cost $616.8 million, down from a 2007 estimate of $1.6 billion over 12 years.

The system will eventually replace a patchwork of antiquated government computer systems that hinder efficiency, its promoters say. Accenture is the software vendor and will integrate the new system over five years for a proposed contract price of $213.1 million. (Accenture also is handling the $500 million my|CalPERS project.)

The new FI$CAL estimate shaves two years off the project with big savings in staffing, contract services, hardware, software, telecommunications and data center services.

An earlier report by State Auditor Elaine Howle noted that future funding for the project looked uncertain. Project administrators now recommend pay-as-you go funding from the Legislature instead of vendor financial or issuing bonds.

FI$CAL is still having trouble hanging on to qualified staff, according to Howle's report:

As of March 31, 2012, the IPO reports that 47 of the project's 156 full‑time budgeted positions (30 percent) were vacant. Furthermore, the project continues to experience turnover in key management positions, with the February 2012 departures of the individuals holding the deputy director positions of change management and project management. The project filled the position of the deputy director of change management in April 2012.

FI$CAL update

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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