The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

July 29, 2013
California IT snapshot: DMV's failed registration overhaul

This is the first in a series that reviews California's 10 most-expensive state government information technology projects, according to the Department of Technology. First up, an infamous trip-up at a department that touches nearly every adult in California.

Name: Information Technology Modernization
Department: Department of Motor Vehicles
Vendor/contractor: HP Enterprise Services (a division of Hewlett-Packard)
Total cost: $208.1 million
Amount spent to date: $135 million
Percent of project complete: Cancelled in January 2013
Estimated timeframe: July 2006 - July 2013 (6.9 years)

What was it? An overhaul of DMV's systems for registering vehicles, and for licensing drivers, driving schools and other driving-related businesses. DMV officials say the licensing part of the job was completed and that they intend to pursue the work related to vehicle registration.

The official line: "This project will incrementally upgrade the Department's core systems and processes over a seven year timeframe by modernizing all components of the existing Driver License, Vehicle Registration, and Occupational Licensing legacy systems applications and programs, transactions processing and database architecture using more current and easier to support technologies."
Red flags: Faulty programming, staffing problems, according to the project's final December 2012 status report.

Source: California Department of Technology

Editor's Note: This post and its headline have been updated to reflect that the licensing work was completed, but that the DMV will pursue the registration work. Updated 9:35 a.m. on July 30, 2013.

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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


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