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1997-11-25 19:47:45


Texas: $400 Million Needed; Legislature Has Allocated $110 Million



There are 133 state agencies with noncompliant systems, not counting the universities. Many have not yet begun work on the problem. Here is a report from Steve Heller.

* * * * * * *

They hired IBM to do an assessment of the state of the information systems in 133 state agencies, which did not include state universities. After nine weeks of work, IBM reported that it would cost them somewhere in excess of $200,000,000 to fix the problems. Nine of the agencies accounted for 85% of the costs.

Their best guess is that the universities probably account for at least as much expense as the agencies, which would bring the total to over $400,000,000.

The legislature has appropriated $110,000,000 to fix the problem; the rest of the expenditure is supposed to come from the agencies' current budgets.

Obstacles to a solution

They are having serious problems with loss of personnel. Some programmers are retiring, and some are leaving for private industry so as to make much higher salaries. . . .

They have set up a plan to get reports from the agencies on their progress. The frequency of reporting is based on the priority of the agency involved, and varies from monthly to quarterly. No reports have come in yet.

They have set up a bonus plan to retain "mission-critical" people. Such people can be paid $5000 bonuses for both 1998 and 1999 ... in May of 2000. For some reason, this plan doesn't seem to be working very well. . . .

The assessment by IBM didn't include embedded systems, and the legislature hasn't provided any money or guidance on this issue.

However, the DIR [Department of Information Resources] is definitely at the awareness stage with this issue. Ms. Porterfield described the possible legal consequences of embedded systems failures as "staggering". They have tried to set up a task force to address this issue, but haven't been able to get anything going.


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