The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 9, 2013
California IT snapshot: The big kahuna of tech projects? FI$Cal

When it comes to finances, California's vast state government often operates like dozens of smaller governments. Many use separate computer systems developed many years ago -- decades, even -- to handle everything from payroll and procurement to caseload management and document tracking. The systems aren't uniform, which can make even the most basic tasks such as paying employees and vendors complex and labor intensive.

Those limitations also slow big-picture budgeting and business planning. The state's big-picture solution:

Name: Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal)
Department: Department of Finance
Estimated total cost: $617 million
Amount spent to date: $122 million
Percent of project complete: 15 percent
Time frame: July 2005 - July 2017 (11.9 years)

What is it? A financial system for the entire state that will track all departments' purchases of goods and services as well as keeping track of all bids and grant processes.

The official line: "This project will replace the state's aging and non-integrated financial systems with a single comprehensive financial application supporting the state's fiscal and policy decision processes. The proposed solution is to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning application that will meet the state's budget, accounting, and some procurement needs. The solution will also address various fiscal information needs of the Legislature."

Current red flags reported: "106 out of 265 milestones were missed for the month of June. None of these were on the project's critical path."

This is the final installment in a series of posts looking at California's 10 most-expensive state computer projects as listed on the Department of Technology's website.

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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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